Night in the Woods is a game that exists in my wheelhouse. I love independent games, obviously. Everything about Night in the Woods since it was announced three years ago has piqued my interests and I have followed the game almost religiously until the release. I played and read all the supplemental material that this team has produced, I’ve watched all the YouTube interviews.
In the game, you play as a cat named Mae who has just dropped out of college and came back to her hometown, Possum Springs. Every day you go and meet your friends, (Bea, Gregg and his boyfriend Angus) and you do some sort of activity with them. You have a choice of choosing who you hang out with every day as well. This is generally how the game is structured. I love games like these where you can just chill and experience an interesting story in a comforting environment. The environments and aesthetic of Night in the Woods is very comfortable and warm. Possum Springs and its surrounding areas just beg to be explored.
To say that I was disappointed in this game is a major understatement. Night in the Woods made me want to stop playing the game at some points, not because of the game play, not because the game wasn’t working, but because the writing and the characters annoyed me to no end, specifically the main character, Mae.
Mae is an insufferable character everything about her rubbed me the wrong way and throughout the game, I was just hoping for her to have a breakthrough moment. She’s so emotionally guarded and likes to lash out when things don’t go right for her. One time you’re with Gregg and Angus and Mae gets mad because they’re having a fight and she goes into the bathroom and destroys the bathroom by clogging the drains. Mae is mad because things aren’t going her way at all. Eventually, Mae gets her big moment and things make more sense, but I honestly felt that the payoff happened too late in the game.
The revelation the character has, by her actually opening up, put tears In my eyes, I related to her so much! Then after that scene, it was all gone and she was the same, Mae. Much of this games’ writing feels very contrived. The characters’ background and past with each other aren’t believable and each character is given a dramatic backstory to make us feel emotions for them in such a short amount of time. The characters are used cheaply and they don’t earn their climaxes, except Angus and Mae kind of. Night in the Woods, does this a lot, it builds up to something and it concludes it with a half-assed joke or sarcastic remark. I get what the game was going for 100% I understood what this game was when I finished it. I understand this game and what it was trying to achieve.
The writing and pacing of the game are very front heavy and feels like it has had half of its’ content cut out. The game’s climax happens an hour or less towards the end than the game wraps up to its climax in a matter of minutes. We have seven hours of lead up to a climax and then the game just ends? I was baffled. I loved the twist that this game has and I loved the ending. I have seen many people online complaining about the ending, but I think that it is the best part of the game, it took a chance and executed their vision, I applaud the team for that. I’m all for alternative ways of telling a story when it works.
Most of this game is hard to talk about without getting into spoiler territory, though.
Night in the Woods is a game that is finely tuned and beautiful to look at. The skeleton of this game is strong and sturdy, the game, drank its milk during the development for sure. Their skin; the person it became is artificial and bitter.
Night in the Woods is a game I would suggest to people, maybe they’ll get something else out of it and maybe they won’t analyze it as much as I did. This game, spoke to me in many little ways and I can definitely see how it could speak to someone else. If people tell me that Night in the Woods was their favorite game this year it wouldn’t surprise me, there will be people out there who are enamored with this game. At the end of the day, Night in the Woods was a miss for me, but it might just be a masterpiece for you.
- Worth a buy on sale
Hey guys, thanks for reading my review for Night in the Woods, if any of the developers read this I just want to let you know that if any of this came across as a personal attack, I’m sorry. I know how it is when you write something and put work into it and somebody has a negative view of your precious baby.
My twitter is: here