Review by Morgan Kerrigan
If you love story focused games then you might have heard about Night In The Woods. A compelling platformer about a college drop-out named Mae, returning back to what remains of her hometown. Back in January of 2017, this game was released on Linux, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Mac. More recently it was also released on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One with the newest addition of the game ‘Weird Autumn’.
Mae Borowski returns back to her hometown of Possum Springs only to find things not as she left it. As you explore the town you’ll see her group of friends; Gregg, a rebellious dude who is shown later to have a fear of accidentally ruining his relationship with his boyfriend Angus (a quite relatable fear). Angus is quite nearly the opposite of Gregg, as he is calm and stoic. And Bea, Mae’s childhood friend who was thought to have left for college but got stuck in the town. Mae also finds that one of her old friends missing.
Getting to explore the town of Possum Springs, interact with the citizens (who were characterized wonderfully), and play mini-games are part of the game experience too. That as well as going through weird dreams, visiting a graveyard, and possibly meeting a god? This game perfectly exhibits the question “What choices do we really have and what choices can we make?”
One of the most hated characters in the game happens to be one I relate to the most. Mae is thought of as destructive, being unkind due to thoughtlessness. She is seen as a screw-up who is way too accepted by her friends and family after her return. One of the most relatable things I’ve seen in her character is her weird mix of self-acceptance and self-hatred. Mae is one of the most realistic characters I’ve played (and that’s not just because she reminds me of myself).
One thing to look forward to in the game is the music. Some games have background music that distracts from the game. Or in quite a few cases, are just plain annoying. With Night In The Woods, the music accompanies the game perfectly. The parts where the game really focuses on the music are the band practice mini-games and during one of Mae’s dreams. The band practice is where Mae and all her friends practice in their band and the mini-game is in the same fashion as ‘Guitar Hero’ (you can get achievements based on how well you do on these for the entire game). The band plays songs like ‘Die Anywhere Else’ that vaguely remind me of alternative rock, and are absolute bops to listen to.
The art of Night In The Woods is quite spectacular with its detailed backgrounds, like the cat shrine on a street. Another thing is the color schemes in the game are absolutely beautiful to look at. The colors all blend together quite nicely with all the browns and greens and reds. And when the colors do pop out, it is done in a purposeful manner to catch your eye to something. The only situation where this isn’t exactly true is in the dream scenes. The stark contrasts of the dark blues to the bright reds make the dreams seem extra creepy.
This story focused platformer is one of the most beautiful works of art in a video game I’ve seen. I’ve only played the video game once (there are two paths to be chosen) and that was 7 months ago but this game will stick with you. Night In The Woods is worth your time with its wonderful storyline, witty dialogue, and beautiful backgrounds.
Reviewed on PC, not provided by Finji