Friday, November 6, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep41: A Night in the Woods

A haunting look at survival in a dark and lonely future.

A Night in the Woods is an interesting experience. I'm inclined to call it art more than a game, as there's not much mechanically going on... but it makes up for that big time with atmosphere and exposition.

The title screen appears briefly, then drops you right into the game itself. It's dark, and you've stumbled upon what seems to be a long-abandoned town, though the street lights are still functioning perfectly. Crickets chirp in the background, but it's otherwise quiet. Being dark and cold, you're tasked with collecting scrap paper for kindling.

At first glance, the game appears to be a horror title. It has a dark and lonely setting, you've no way to defend yourself, and early on you find a flashlight. This keeps you guessing as to if there's any danger ahead, bringing the tension up a bit.

As you scavenge for kindling, you discover notes, books and newspapers hinting at what led to the world you now inhabit. The game gives us a glimpse of a possible (and rather bleak) real-world future based on present day issues.

A Night in the Woods is a thought provoking and atmospheric title with a cautionary warning as to where we may be headed. I felt like I was inside an episode of The Twilight Zone, which made for a unique and satisfying experience.

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