We covered the news of an upcoming mystery game called This Bed We Made a few months ago. When the Steam demo was released a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to try it out. Those interested can read my opinions on my time spent on the demo here. After a little delay, the game was released on Steam and PlayStation 5 in early November 2023. The game was then ported to PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X|S by developer Lowbirth Games in December. I came into this game totally by chance, and the genre and style of the game piqued my interest.
Some may be wondering what This Bed We Made is all about. To summarize, it’s a “third-person narrative adventure game,” as the developer describes it. According to the Steam page, the game lasts between three and six hours. It takes place in the 1950s, and we play Sophie. She is a nosy hotel maid who is interested in the unseen aspects of people’s lives. So, what can we expect to do while playing a game as a maid?
This Bed We Made Gameplay Features
- NEO-NOIR INVESTIGATION: Discover a dark, mysterious, and intriguing story with a touch of glamour and murder as you explore three atmospheric floors of the Clarington Hotel;
- GUILTY PLEASURE: Explore your (in)discreet fascination with other people’s lives while you inspect their belongings in 360° and solve puzzles;
- CONFIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIPS: Form intimate bonds with hotel employees and guests, including your choice of ally between street-smart Beth and book-smart Andrew;
- LIFELIKE CONSEQUENCES: Every action taken, and every door opened, can have an impact on how the story unfolds… including how you tidy up the rooms!
This Bed We Made A Solid Debut Or Forgettable Miss
For this review, the game was played on PlayStation 5. However, the demo on PC versus my console experience was mostly similar in terms of quality.
We have a third-person perspective and a simple control system. Cleaning rooms is explained clearly, and it is not difficult to understand what to do. Reading and analyzing what you find is equally simple. When confronted with a puzzle, the answers are either nearby or Sophie’s thoughts will provide a hint as to where to look. In addition, the game provides a multi-choice option in conversations, which can have an impact later on. In terms of gameplay, the camera position made it difficult to see or interact at times, and movement could be smoother.
Examining objects found in rooms is another aspect of the game. As a result, the outcome of the game can be altered based on your actions and discussion choices. When we combine this, we have a game with numerous endings. The drawback is that there wasn’t much of a distinction between the two endings I encountered.
This release from Lowbirth Games will not have a visual quality that is comparable to that of AAA games that have been released in recent times. But despite that, you shouldn’t assume the game is a bad-looking game.
Sophie is the main character, and while she isn’t photo-realistic like Senua in Hellblade 2, she doesn’t need to be. The character’s detail is still of outstanding quality. The hotel environments are incredibly detailed and appear sharp and tidy. The lighting is also of outstanding quality, albeit the PC demo was slightly better. Overall, it demonstrates that not everything needs to be photo-realistic, and the game has not suffered as a result of this approach to visuals.
The first thing we notice in terms of audio is the quality of the vocal performance. They have assembled an impressive voice cast for their first indie production. The voice actors appear to be intent on producing a high-quality delivery.
The audio in the rest of the game is hardly noteworthy. We can hear the radio or TV, the sound of running water from the taps, the ticking of the clocks, or sounds from adjacent rooms that are slightly muffled. To be fair, regarding the game’s setting and character, we can’t really compare it to, say, God of War. The creators are also a small indie studio. The team of fourteen persons is listed in the About Us section, with only two working on audio.
For me, the game’s strength is its story, which is what you’d expect from a narrative-driven game. It strongly urges you to investigate and seek out all narrative possibilities. As previously said, the game’s design adds to the tale. There is no one way to enjoy the story in its entirety, and with multiple endings, the game attempts to provide depth to the storytelling experience. Unfortunately, even after several playthroughs, I adjusted certain major portions of the tale, but the ultimate result didn’t differ significantly. As previously stated, the game is designed to last between three and six hours. My initial playthrough took about five hours, so the target was reasonable.
Despite the fact that the game has numerous endings, will you return once you’ve seen them all? I can go back and forth between Red Dead Redemption and The Last of Us. This game not so much once I’ve completed it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the story, but I believe the team’s shortage of experience shows. Though the game shows promise, and if the game is on sale, I recommend it for the story.
This is the developer’s first project, but they already have ideas for another. An interview revealed that it is also some of the team’s first experience designing a video game, having recently graduated from university. In light of this, they have done an excellent job. I had a great time with the game as a whole. In fact, I’m on my third playthrough of the game. It’s a studio I’ll keep an eye on because I believe it has a promising future. The game isn’t innovative, but it was made with care, and it shows. Every facet of the game where it may fall short is due to the team’s experience. This is an area where they can improve as they hone their craft and release additional games.