Night in the Woods Review
Man, everything sure has changed since I left.
Available on: Steam/Consoles
Genre: Atmospheric Adventure
I can’t believe how long I pushed back playing Night in the Woods. We all know that games are a form of escapism as you can go from a detective to a gun-blazing hero if you so desire. However, not many try to bump as close to reality as possible that so many opportunities arise for people to relate to any aspect of the game. Night in the Woods does just this and succeeds.
We follow the story of Mae, who just dropped out of college and is returning back to her hometown named Possum Springs. To her dismay, it changed since she was there last and many places that she once went to is either gone or abandoned. This also applies to her friends, who have also changed since. As Mae starts to settle back into living in Possum Springs, she discovers that strange things have been hiding right under everyone’s nose. All this, she documents in her journal who her therapist prescribed to her for a reason that is later revealed.
Night in the Woods heavily revolves around all the characters and what is happening to them and their town (there is platforming, but it is only used as a way to explore). Possum Springs that was once a flourishing town is slowly losing all their local businesses and thus the residents are slowly unable to keep the homes they once were able to afford. Mae, her friends (Bea and Gregg), and Angus showcases how much this town is affecting the youth. Bea who was originally planning to go to college now feels trapped because her family’s business was put as being more important. Gregg who was once all about doing crimes is now trying to grow up, if not for avoiding jail but for his boyfriend Agnus. Everyday, as you make your rounds around town, Bea and Gregg may be free enough for Mae to hang out with them. However, you can’t hang out with both of them on one day as there just isn’t enough time in a day. At least two playthroughs are required to experience everything.
As days pass, you may be surprised how many things are opened to you. Heck, there may be things you may have missed in your first playthrough when looking at what others thought. You don’t just talk to the Mae’s friends and parents, but also the other residents. You can talk to Mae’s old astronomy teacher and find stars with him. You can talk and spend time with your mother and father. Talk to the teens and see what they are up to (two specifically have their own hangouts and will become friends with Mae by the end if you talk to them enough). You can even go on Mae’s computer and play a tough dungeon crawler that holds its own story among many more. A lot of these are timed, so some won’t be available till a certain day or you have to interact/talk to them everyday to get the most out of it. You just have to explore to find everything you can do.
Night in the Woods is realistic to the highest degree. Everyone talks and acts how a real person would. It was almost scary how much I could relate to the characters, their dilemmas, and even the situations they get into (such as having a fight with a friend or parent). Even the parts that suggest something supernatural is going on is rooted in real problems they are facing (it certainly helps that Possum Springs is based on real towns that are going through the same problems).
Night in the Woods is adorably beautiful. From the characters being animals brought to life by their unique animations and uniquely colored dialogue. Possum Springs is also beautiful and full of history as you kick up leaves in town or transverse through Mae’s dreams. All wrapped in a fantastic soundtrack that I just yearn to play at least one song.
Night in the Woods is a truly beautiful game that I certainly would not forget. As the story ended I was sad to see Possum Springs and all its residents go as I just wanted to see what happened to them next. If everything got better for them in even the smallest way. This may not be for everyone, but if you are interested in any way, I highly recommend picking this up. If you do, don’t forget to check the extras as there are two additional stories included called Lost Constellation and Longest Night.