Night in the Woods is an adventure video game produced by Infinite Fall and came out in early 2017. You can play the game on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and even on phones. It initially began as a small project published by Finji Studios but it slowly grew; they wanted to add more to it so they moved onto Kickstarter to gain crowdfunding. On their Kickstarter page, the original goal was $50,000 and they ended up getting $209,375. According to the page, they were fully funded within 26 hours, and in 30 days they had 400% more than what they asked for with over 7,000 backers.
Night in the Woods is about a college dropout named Mae and how she has to readjust to going back to her hometown. She notices that things have changed; her friends have jobs and are doing their own thing. Even the town feels different to her somehow. Mae soon discovers that she has an ability that lets her see the town in a new light, and this unique ability shows her that something is lurking in the woods.
Night in the Woods deals with some serious issues such as loss, depression, change, responsibility, anxiety, money, and much more. It was interesting to play a game that dealt with these themes since most games don’t tackle them. Also, the game does not try to shove these themes down the player’s throat. They feel natural and can be picked up on throughout gameplay.
The gameplay features a 2D world where players walk around the town discovering things and getting to know people. You get to choose dialogue options that are displayed and the writing of the game is very well done. It lets the characters feel real and allows the players to feel part of the friend group. The way they talk does not seem forced or like they are trying to be edgy like other stories that have characters in their late teens or early twenties do. Players can choose who they want to talk to, and this leads to different ways to play the game and alternate endings. Some mini-games emerge and based on who you get close to the games will be different. One mini-game is when you have band practice you have to press the buttons on the screen just like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The mini-games are nice since they break up all the dialogue.
The game may feel slow if you don’t enjoy walking around discovering new things about the small town or talking to characters, as it is very much driven by character development and getting to know people. I found myself instantly drawn to the town; it just felt so peaceful. The game starts out slow, but once it picks up, it turns into a supernatural kind of story.
Night in the Woods doesn’t need to have a mystery element since the interactions between the characters are so strong. I recommend it if you want a relaxing game to play on your downtime. It deserves a solid 8/10.