It’s Hard to Say Goodbye
The hardest word to say in the English language is, “Goodbye.” From an early age, we all learn the inevitably of parting with the ones we love. Whether we move on to bigger and better things or they pass from this world, there will be a time where we have to say goodbye once and for all.
This is the premise of OPUS: Rocket of Whispers. Much like its predecessor, The Day We Found Earth, it’s about people coming to terms with the lives they now lead and the farewells they must bid. Sigono Games told a heartwarming and painful tale with their previous entry. Now that the sequel has found its way to the Nintendo Switch, can they do it again?
Fill in the Blank
OPUS: Rocket of Whispers starts with a scene involving a young boy named John, whose dad is a rocket engineer. He and his parents are traveling to a space burial- which is a ritual put together by the witches to send earthly ghosts into the stars via a rocket, where they can finally be at peace.
After a brief scene, we jump decades in the future. John is a grown man, angry, disgruntled, and alone. His family is nowhere to be found. His hometown is decrepit and covered in snow. His only companion is a witch named Fei who just woke up from cryogenic sleep. Despite their bleak surroundings, she remains optimistic and hopeful for their future.
Together, they’re working to launch one last space burial by building a rocket so all of the ghosts of the world can rest in peace. Players will enter the story with a lot of questions. What happened to the bright-eyed young boy, John? Why is he so bitter? Why are ghosts constantly following and talking to him? Where does Fei fit into all of this? Why did humanity seemingly disappear?
All of those questions are answered in due time, but it’s the process of filling in the blanks that makes OPUS: Rocket of Whispers such a joyous experience. Every day, I learned more about the two main characters and how they ended up together. I also started to hope along with them, despite potentially being the last two people on Earth.
All of this groundwork and character development leads to an incredibly satisfying and heartfelt ending that I will remember for quite some time. It’s on par with The Day We Found Earth.
Scavenging Every Day
In terms of gameplay, OPUS: Rocket of Whispers is largely a step forward from The Day We Found Earth. Instead of being a point and click through the stars, you will actually control John as he walks around the abandoned environment around him. You’ll start by exploring the area around you for rocket parts, until certain requirements take you to other locales. The world opens up as you play, and it keeps the experience from getting seriously repetitive.
You also won’t just be getting rocket parts. There are ghosts in the area who have unfinished business, whether it be a doll their daughter lost or a police badge their wife wrote on. These side quests are entirely optional, but you can help these ghosts come to terms with their new reality as well.
In a lot of ways, Rocket of Whispers emulates a Metroidvania. Certain parts of the world are blocked off from you until you have the proper equipment to traverse them. It’s definitely an enjoyable upgrade. That said, I would’ve appreciated a clearer depiction of how the maps worked, as I wasn’t aware they could be used for fast travel until much later in the game, which led to me backtracking too much for my taste.
What gives Rocket of Whispers a greater sense of urgency is that John has to go back to the Rocket Factory every night, or the cold will take hold of him. In a way, it adds an element of planning, survival, and realism to the world. It doesn’t quite have the depth to really flesh out the mechanic in the context of a mobile game, but it’s a nice addition.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for OPUS: Rocket of Whispers was provided by CIRCLE Entertainment..