Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day.
Today’s review is a video game and not a movie. Don’t question it. I do want I want.
Based on the visual aesthetic and cartoony graphics, it’s easy to dismiss this as a children’s game but Night in the Woods is anything but. It deals with very real problems like Depression, Anxiety, Child abuse, Financial burdens, Child murder and even taps into existential questions about the universe and our role within it. It’s a game that tackles many different ideas and emotions while still being extremely funny. Mae, the protagonist of the story, is very much like a cross between Scott Pilgrim and MTV’s Daria. She’s reckless and impulsive but there’s a deep sadness under the mischievousness. She’s like a plucky onion with every other layer being either a witty remark or a deep-seated emotional problem. She’s a complex cat.
No, literally. She’s a cat. As you can tell with your functioning eyes, all the characters are anthropomorphic animals. It’s never addressed and with the exception of Mae’s fondness for climbing telephone polls, none of the characters behave like animals. They’re just characters that happen to be animals.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. The game begins with Mae coming back to her home town of Possum Springs after three years of college. She dropped out to move back home for awhile. Her best friends are Bae, who’s a melancholic crocodile who, as you’ll find out later, deeply resents Mae for wasting her opportunity at a better life and Gregg, a hyperactive fox who’s really into “Crimes.”
The majority of this game is the interactions you have with these characters. It’s not an action based game and there’s no puzzles to solve. It’s all about walking through town, talking to the residents and just letting the story suck you in. If the idea of waking up every day, walking through town, talking to the same 10 people and then maybe doing a quick mini game sounds tedious to you, this may not be the game for you.
Although there are things that shake up the monotony. There’s alternate scenes that take place depending on the conversations you make, (you get to choose between 2 different options in a conversation sometimes. It doesn’t effect the story like the Walking Dead game but it does give you a little more control over the conversation.) Alternate side quests and mini games and Mae’s dreams become more and more crazy and that’s where the majority of the platforming takes place. You have to jump from building to building looking for musicians (don’t ask) and once you find them all, the dream ends. Oh and there’s a small little rogue like dungeon crawler on her computer. It’s about 5 levels and is a fun little distraction.
But that’s about it. There’s not much more too it. There is a mystery that slowly starts to reveal it’s self towards the end and then the game becomes about solving Mae’s “Ghost” problem but in terms of gameplay, it’s walking and talking baby.
If you enjoyed story heavy games like Life is Strange, Gone Home and Oxenfree, I highly recommend you check out Night in the Woods.