Living in a small village is usually pleasant. Or well. It was, until the Werewolves started showing up and eating everybody. That's why we've called this town meeting. Here, at the table it's time to discuss the unpleasantry that's been going on, and get to the bottom of things. The only problem is that the Werewolves are living amongst us, and they look no different than anybody else who lives here. It's time to find the Werewolf Within.
If you recognize this premise, that's because you may have seen in before in games like Werewolves, or Mafia. It used to be that party games of this kind only worked if you had a group gathered together in your house. Now though, it's entirely possible — and more fun than it ought to be — to jump into VR and point out the Werewolf in your midst.
Work together or die alone
Werewolf Within is a party game that requires at least 6 players in order to play. That's because most of the gameplay involved you interacting with other players while you try to ferret out which of you is a Werewolf. While your character will have specific skills that can help you figure this out, you'll need to use your wits and work with other players in order to save the town.
At the beginning of each match, you'll be given a card that outlines the character you are playing. There are actually 11 different roles that you may be given, and each one will give you a set of skills. You might be a simple townsperson, or a more specialized Tracker, Saint or Bloodhound. Townspeople don't have any particular talents, but if you get a specialized role you can use it to help figure out who the Werewolf in your midst actually is.
You can actually have the same 6 people playing over and over, getting entirely different results in each session.
Each skill has it's own perks and detriments. The Tracker can lean over to listen to other players, and can pick up the growl of a Werewolf. However figuring out specifically who it is is a bit more difficult. This is true pretty much across the board. While each role has a skill that can be used to help narrow things down, if you don't work with other team members then figuring things out is nigh on impossible.
The extra problem pops up when you realize that trusting the people around you might not always be your best option. After all, the Werewolf and the Turncoat could be sitting at that very table and lying to you about their motives entirely. That's part of what makes Werewolves Within so much fun. You can actually have the same 6 people playing over and over, getting entirely different results in each session.
The visual aesthetic in the town of Gallowston is simultaneously cartoony and captivating. The gameplay itself is fairly static, aside from character movements and emotes. The background, which shows you the actual town around you though, will steal your attention the first time that you start up a game.
While you sadly can't explore your surroundings, taking a few minutes to look around and take everything in is absolutely fantastic. From the castle perches atop nearby mountains, to the Church towering against the moon, to the small shops and houses scattered around. Each little piece adds to the overall atmosphere and really helps to go ahead and bring the town to life.
As new players join the game, you'll see an avatar for each of them sitting at the table. Each character looks a bit different, and while they retain the cartoonish, rounded art style that the setting exhibits. The small details from the jewelry, to the clothing, of each character is fantastic. The only downside is that you can't actually see which character you are. So, you could look like a gypsy lady, or just a townsman in hat, shirt and pants.
More fun than it probably should be
Most of us, as gamers, are used to extremely expansive settings and a variety of gameplay when we boot up our consoles. While Werewolves Within lacks most of those, it shines in the way that interaction is the core facet of gameplay. There isn't any real reason that lying to people you don't know while playing a game together should be so fun, but it totally is.
There isn't any real reason that lying to people you don't know while playing a game together should be so fun, but it totally is.
In fact, the one big complaint that I had with the game was how long it could take to match up a session. The first time I jumped into a game I was joined by 5 other players within only two to three minutes. However, my second session took the better part of twenty minutes to get rolling. While it is understandable, since you have to have free players in order to set up a session, it's ultimately extremely frustrating.
If you can get over that, or if you have friends with the game that you want to play with, this becomes far less important. Getting the hang of the ins and outs of the game can also be a bit difficult. This is mostly because of the variety of roles that you might be assigned, and how each one works a little bit differently.
Thankfully, Ubisoft thought about this. Before you get started, there is a tutorial video that can help you get the basics before you try to jump into a game. Likewise, even while you are inside the game you can still double check on a few things. Emotes, Roles, and win conditions are all located inside of a giant tome that floats in front of you while you play. Having easy access to the different moving parts of the game puts you in a solid place, where even brand new players aren't fumbling through each and every action.
Werewolves Within is a fun party style game that expects you to use your wits, and a few small skills in order to suss out the Werewolves in town eating everyone.
- Plenty of roles give you tons of content to explore
- Gameplay dependent on interacting with other players
- Easy to jump into and play
- Waiting for a match can take frustratingly long
- Playing with experienced players may make the learning curve more difficult