Night in the Woods a game that left me perplexed. I’m stuck not being able to decide if I liked it a lot or really just liked it enough to stick through the motions. It does some stuff pretty well, there is a hook to it that sucks you in, but I don’t know if I’m satisfied! Also, just a side note, I literally just finished playing the game less than 20 minutes ago so this is the hottest of takes and I’m not going to sit and ruminate on this.
I feel like the things it gets right, it gets SO right! I picked it up and gave it a try because of how it was regarded on some Game of the Year lists and podcasts, which sent me in with something to expect.
I was led to believe there would be such rich dialog and interactions between characters, to a point no other game has reached before. I will attest to the fact that the dialogue is fantastic, and the interpersonal relationships feel organic and spot on. It really lends itself to the world feeling alive and true to life.
Night in the Woods gets a couple other things right as well. It delivers a small town aesthetic that feels right, and totally relatable if you’ve ever left the town you grew up in and returned to it with a new lens. Something I haven’t seen mentioned much on other lists or podcasts is they get enough “game” into it to where it doesn’t feel like you’re just running through a visual novel. But also not acknowledging that most of the time you’re mostly running through a pattern checking off things on a list.
I feel like night in the woods was something worth playing. It has a little bit of a message, but I don’t know exactly how much of that message actually gets across. I wanted something different, something that moved me, something that delivered on what I was trying to work for since day one of the game. I felt like I was left with something I didn’t ask for. Or maybe I had just tricked myself into thinking there was something more personal and critical to Mae’s (the lead character) well-being, that once the end game started unraveling, I was so taken back to what I wasn’t getting that it didn’t land as well as it was meant to.
Sometimes expectations can ruin games. In the end, I could recommend Night in the Woods. But I don’t really want to push the idea that the game will give you some crazy revelation as to what games can offer, or about how this is what story telling in games should push for.
Verdict – Buy
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