Taken from the official website, Night in the Woods tells the tale of college dropout Mae Borowski, who returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren’t the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades. And there’s something in the woods.
I think what this game has got going for it are its characters and its humour. The characters are all damaged in different but believable ways and have more heart and depth than a lot of video game characters I have seen as of late. The protagonist, Mae, is quick-witted and silver-tongued. Her sarcasm and cynicalness often brings a laugh out of me. The dialogue and relationships were well-written and made me feel closer to Mae as well as the people she surrounds herself with. But what struck me most was the fact that her character and I are both people who are stuck in the gap between childhood and adulthood, who are still trying to find their way and purpose in life, and so a lot of the jokes that Mae cracks also hit home for me. In fact, I think this is just Mae’s way of crying for help.
Night in the Woods is unafraid to embrace a wealth of issues that young people face in their daily lives, too. Over the course of the game, Mae will attend parties and band practice and, like any other teenager, find herself either in the wrong place at the wrong time or deliberately (and recklessly) throwing herself into trouble. But this game also tackles topical subjects like depression, anxiety, moving on, and even some of the darker things that a lot of people are often morbidly fascinated in but can’t find the courage or words to talk about such as existentialism and the nature of God.
My main gripe with this game is how much it seems to amble. Sure, it was like taking a pleasant walk around a rural town in the midst of autumn. It’s beautiful and serene as all heck. Mae was constantly chatting up her friends as well as the (surprisingly) well-realised denizens of Possum Springs. But to get to the meat of things, boy, are you in for a long wait. The mini games are perfectly fun in its own way, but getting around the world often slows down the pace of the game—more so than it already is.
Simply put, though, Night in the Woods is a unique breath of fresh air, woven from small scenes between friends enjoying each other’s companies, healing and hurting, reconciling and moving on form the past. It delivers a powerful message that resonated with me in ways I wasn’t expecting or prepared for and it was an experience I won’t be forgetting in a long time.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, then thank you for reading! Have you played this game before? If so, what did you think? If not, would you give it a try? Let me know what you think and I’ll see you in my next post.
Until next time,