We Are One is a unique puzzle shooter where players create cloned chaos in an epic battle to save mother nature from mechanical annihilation. Read on for our full We Are One review, available now for Quest 2 and PC VR.
Mother Nature is under attack from machinated automatons hellbent on destroying all creation and she needs your help. As a sproutling (a humanoid plant), you have the ability to create doppelgangers capable of performing actions alongside each other in multiple time loops. With the aid of these clones, a plant-based arsenal, and some creative thinking, it’s up to you and yourself to battle the machines back to the very heart of their homeland.
Vibrant Art Style
We Are One is a puzzle game at its core with some shooting elements thrown in to deliver an action-packed, mind-bending adventure. The game is set among idyllic woodland environments contrasted against mechanized industrial landscapes. The watercolor-inspired palette works perfectly to bring the picturesque natural elements to life whilst juxtaposing them against the lifeless cold machine world that seeks to impose itself on the organic.
Unlike the strikingly vivid visuals, the storyline fails to leave the same lasting impression. Who created the machines? What drives them to destroy? These are some of the big questions that go unanswered, leaving your curiosity unsatiated and making the game’s conclusion feel incomplete.
Gameplay mechanics involving clones and time loops sound complicated but it’s all surprisingly easy to get to grips with. Each stage is occupied by a number of robot foes that need to be destroyed before moving on to the next. Every level has a limited number of fixed spawn locations, with only a single clone able to occupy each one.
Players select a location to spawn and are given a time limit to perform actions before ending their turn. Finishing the turn brings you to a God-like overview of the stage where you can see the spawn point, now occupied by a clone repeating an endless loop of the actions you just performed. Multiple clones can be created at different locations and their actions chained together to solve puzzles and ultimately clear the stage of robotic opponents.
A simple illustration of how this works might involve sharing resources across spawn locations, for example. Let’s say a stage contains two spawn locations, A and B. Location A contains a seed pod (ammo), while an empty gun sits at location B. To load the gun, you would first spawn at location A, pick up the seed pod and chuck it toward spawn point B before ending the turn. This would generate a clone at point A that performs the actions you just took in a continuous loop. You could then spawn in location B, pick up the gun, and wait for the clone at point A to throw the seed pod toward you.
However, certain levels in We Are One include additional mechanics that add complexity. On some levels, live clones are spawned nearby that mirror your every move. This means you not only have to be aware of the impact of your own activity, but also consider the actions of your mirror copies as they mimic your movements. The overall result is a refreshingly original and innovative puzzler that rewards creativity and thinking outside the box.
A Brief Run
We Are One comes with 57 single player stages. That might sound like a lot, but most can be completed within a minute or two to clear the game in around 3 to 4 hours. The short run time is complemented by global leaderboards at the moment, with an upcoming level editor promised for a future update post-launch.
The majority of puzzles range in difficulty from easy to medium – some of the easier ones are solvable on the first attempt, while more challenging ones can take a couple of tries to crack. Stages tend to get larger and include more spawn locations as you progress but this doesn’t always increase the difficulty by much.
I would only place a small portion of the puzzles into the hard basket. These head-scratchers took many attempts, and even led me to use the game's in-built hint system on one occasion. Overall, puzzle-solving is an enjoyable affair but might not completely satisfy hardcore puzzle fans looking for more of a challenge.
More Than A Puzzle Game
The shooting action makes up the other half of the gameplay in We Are One. Controls are responsive and the weapons handle well, allowing seamless movement and accurate gunplay. There’s only one handgun-style weapon that inflicts direct damage, on enemies but other items are available to aid you in your fight against the machinated monstrosities. The shield can destroy opponents by reflecting shots back at them, and the resin gun launches globs of sticky, explosive sap that can be triggered to create explosive chain reactions.
Some levels involve nothing more than target shooting as you dispatch defenseless immobile (or slow-moving) bug-like machines called ‘tree tappers’. Other stages include humanoid robots called Lumberjacks that fight back by shooting circular saw blades to be dodged or deflected using the shield. The Lumberjack also has a bigger, tougher brother, but when it comes to different enemy types, that’s all on offer. A greater variety of armored adversaries would have been a welcome addition to keep battles feeling fresh, particularly in later levels when the game becomes more combat-focused.
Despite the limited variety of enemies, combat works well and offers up a fun physical challenge that balances out the more cerebral puzzle-solving elements. Dodging saw blades and blasting robots is an enjoyable workout that will put your reflexes and aim to the test.
We Are One Review – Comfort
We Are One contains no artificial locomotion. Movement is done through physically moving your body and occasional teleportation. Quick physical movement is sometimes required to dodge incoming fire, but overall the game should prove a comfortable VR experience for most players.
We Are One Review - Final Verdict
While the game's storyline lacks depth and explanation regarding the machines' origins and motivations, the gameplay mechanics using cloning and time loops are surprisingly intuitive, offering a refreshing and unconventional puzzling experience. The puzzles are on the easier side, but remain fun to solve nonetheless and should challenge players to think outside the box. The shooting elements complement the puzzle-solving nicely, providing a satisfying physical challenge beyond the intellectual one. Although the game's single player campaign can be completed in a relatively short time, We Are One offers an enjoyable and unique adventure while it lasts.
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