Review of Night in the Woods

nightinthewoods

After funding several projects on Kickstarter, which never saw the light of day, I have given up on donating cash to that company. Crowd funding doesn’t always end in a disaster though. To their credit some people, who requested financial aid on that site, did make good on their promises – be it whipping up a batch of potato salad or developing quality software. One of the video game successes that spawned from Kickstarter is Night in the Woods from Infinite Fall. It’s a title that several of my readers have recommended to me in the past. My followers have great taste (they like my blog after all) so I heeded their words and decided to check the game out.

OVERVIEW

Mae Borowski, a twenty-year-old feline, is the protagonist of Night in the Woods. When the game begins Mae returns home in disgrace, after dropping out of college. In this narrative heavy adventure game players decide whom the young cat girl should hang out with on a daily basis. Mae’s chums include a gothic alligator, a homosexual teddy (I guess he is a “bear” in more ways than one) and a foxy delinquent. Just as Mae begins to reacclimatize to life in Possum Springs she comes across a severed arm. The gruesome discovery may be linked to a phantom kidnapper that she spots a few days later. Finding out who is responsible for these crimes will involve spending a night in the woods.

Anyone who watches Night in the Woods’ trailer may mistaken this game for a platformer, due to the footage of Mae leaping across power lines. Gameplay wise however I would liken this title to Oxenfree, as most of my playthrough involved conversing with NPCs. That’s actually more enjoyable than it sounds because the characters you interact with are written so well. Every now and then the chatter is interrupted by mini-games, which vary in quality. As someone who sucks at rhythm games I can’t say that the band practice segments, which play like Guitar Hero, appealed to me. On the flip side I liked the friendly knife fight and the sequence were you squirt mall shoppers with a fish-head fountain. Poor customers. Getting soaked by a fishy decoration must be a pain in the bass.

VERDICT

My rating for Night in the Woods is a three and a half out of five. I had a grand time playing through the eight-hour story and can see why so many critics showered the game with praise last year. Although I don’t share Mae’s passion for vandalism/shoplifting, she is a character I can relate to. Just like her, I have had to deal with the awkwardness of dealing with relatives after an unsuccessful stint in higher education. We both have also suffered the embarrassment of acting like fools, during social events, after consuming one too many brews. In my defence though, it takes more than three watered down beers to make me vomit up my tacos.

I can highly recommend Night in the Woods, unless you are one of those console owners who values gameplay over story. One complaint that can be levied against Night in the Woods is that traditional video game mechanics take a backseat to its witty banter, excellent soundtrack and stylish visuals. An argument could be made that Night in the Woods would work better as a cartoon series. It’s script, which should resonate with young adults and features weird dream sequences, reminds me of the animation MTV would put out back in the nineties. Ah, how I miss those days. Someone should build a time machine so I can journey back to that decade. If you are up to task start a Kickstarter and I will gladly pledge towards your DeLorean/Police Box construction efforts.