Night In The Woods is a single player narrative heavy game. Developed by indie studio Infinite Fall, and published by Finji for Consoles and PC in 2017.
College isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to Mae. That’s why she dropped out to return to her hometown of Possum Springs. Without any true plans on what to do now, she decides to just take it one day at a time, and try to push through her decision. Why did she leave College? Well it’s for a decent enough reason.
Once Mae is home, she decides it’s time to catch up with her old friends Gregg and Bea, which is short for Beatrice. So you spend your days wandering around the town, to see what has changed, and who has changed. Are some relationships still there? Or did you burn them a long time ago? I really enjoyed walking through the town when you go to meet up with your friends during the day. The town feels alive if you decide to listen to people. I listened to a woman who hated her job and finally moved onto a new one. I listened to the town council argue about how to handle the roads during the coming winter. I listened to the struggles of people who wished they could leave the town and never look back. It was fantastic.
The characters you rekindle relationships with are some of the best supporting characters. You got Gregg who is Mae’s life long friend, and he’s as silly as a best friend should be. Always throwing insults at Mae while she returns them. Then there’s Bea. Who used to be one of your best friends, until high school. But luckily you rekindle your relationship with her. Though you do learn a lot about her troubled past, and it made me really feel for her. Even when Mae was an asshole to her, I felt really bad for her. I just couldn’t help but to feel for literally everyone in the game except for Mae.
I’m not saying Mae was a bad character, but she has her…issues. Even when it gets explained as to why she left college, or why she commited a certain “action” six years ago, I felt like it was so convoluted and “deep” that I just lost a lot of interest in her character development. If anything I wish I got to learn more about the supporting characters. Like Mae’s mother, or father. Especially Gregg and his boyfriend Angus. I mean I did learn a lot, but I wanted even more! Eventually the game turns into a very supernatural experience. As spooky as it gets, it doesn’t go over the rails with its scare factor. I was always waiting for the scary scenes to come along but they were very spaced out. Though I will admit the game was very slow. I enjoyed the story, don’t get me wrong, but the pacing was just terrible. At the end of the game, when I felt like I was close, the game did also feel like it ended a bit abruptly. “Hey we solved this really messed up mystery that left dozens of people dead! What’re we up to today?”. Then the credits rolled.
The game is also sort of a mix of genres. For the most part, the game sort of acts like a walking sim. Where you just walk around town, or walk down a path, reading the dialogue or selecting your dialogue choice when given the opportunity. This is the game I expected. So I wasn’t at all surprised when this was the brunt of the experience. But there were a few more portions of the game that I was just not expecting.
Throughout the game you experience “night time” when Mae goes to bed. This then turns the game into a brief platforming section, where you activate statues that turn into people playing instruments, which then lets you leave the dream. While this was a weird break from the main game, it was also a bit annoying, as there were a couple times where I wasn’t sure if I could jump on something, or if it was just part of the background. Sure the parts indicate the super natural twist the game takes, it also just wasn’t explained well.
Then there was the rhythm game which was band practice. This was fun itself, but reminded me that yes, I suck at rhythm games. Even though I sucked at these sections, I was still able to pass through them, because even though there were some songs where I missed a ton of notes, the characters just commented that I sucked and moved on. I will say though that I wish the songs were actually sung. You see the lyrics at the bottom of the screen, but I couldn’t read them while also trying to hit the notes. Then there’s the best minigame of the game, Demontower! It’s basically an isometric hack and slash. Try and think of OG Zelda. I never truly beat the minigame, but I did finish quite a few levels of it, and enjoyed the ones I played. They’re even a lot more challenging than I expected!
- Fun Mini Games
- Fantastic Characters
- Engaging Story
- Pacing Is Slow
- Lyrics In The Rhythm Minigame Aren’t Sung
- Game Ends A Bit Abruptly
This game was more than I expected. I wish we learned more about Gregg and Angus, because those two are fantastic. They carried the game when they were on screen. The story was fun and silly and turned a bit spooky and messed up, but it’s also so slow, that sometimes it felt hard to stay attached. The game also tried to be really deep with some explanation of things, but tried too hard and just came off terribly explained. The minigames were extremely fun though! I do recommend this game though for anyone who wants a fun story and great silly characters.
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