I had no idea about what the game was before I bought. No idea that it was a Kickstarter project, no idea about its scores, its genre, nothing. I jumped right into Night in the Woods having no clue about what to expect, and I must say I was surprised with the end project.
Night in the Woods is first and foremost focused on narrative, and not on gameplay. Despite this, it’s not incredibly tedious to play, nor just a simple walking simulator like borefests such as Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Night in the Woods features small platforming puzzles, nothing too complicated, but at least showing the game has actually gameplay in it, and not just mindless strolling from plot point to plot point. Not only that, but the game features an incredible throwback to Guitar Hero at a point, as well as a little roguelike game-inside-the-game which plays pretty well and could be a standalone title.
Its visuals are pretty good, as it looks like you’re watching an artistic cartoon, and not a videogame. The only issue I had with the visual presentation was the repetitive usage of some character designs, which can get tiresome at points. The game’s soundtrack had some great tunes (like the title screen and the Guitar Hero section song), but some pretty forgettable tunes as well.
The real star of the game is its story. Not wanting to spoil much, it tells the tale of Mae, a 20 year old who has just recently dropped college, going back to the place she grew up, meeting up with old friends and dealing with some quite harsh issues such as depression, not wanting to grow up, existentialism, etc.
In order to make those harsh themes (definitely not for everyone) more easily digestable for audiences, the game features a lovely sarcastic sense of humor, akin to the TV show BoJack Horseman.
The game is all about Mae’s story, and it takes a while for it to get going, which might frustrate some players. I urge you to be patient, which will reward you with an incredible story, told in a very simple and down-to-earth way.
In the end, it’s hard to recommend Night in the Woods to everybody, given the fact it’s more focused on storytelling than gameplay, the fact you will basically play it just once, and that its themes of teenage angst, “Peter Pan Syndrome” and depression aren’t for everyone. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable experience with a lovely sarcastic sense of humor and throwbacks to some interesting game concepts of yesteryears.
Also available on: Mac, Linux, PS4