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Legosi (Tani Coyote)

Night in the Woods

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First funded via a Kickstarter in 2013 and passing its stretch goal by 400%, Night in the Woods has finally been released! The game is currently available for $19.99 on Steam. I personally think it could be a little cheaper, but definitely recommend it. There are also two supplemental games, Longest Night and Lost Constellation, available for free/pay what you want from the developers' website.

Night in the Woods is a 2D adventure game, mixing exploration, platforming elements, puzzles, and minigames together for several hours of fun with the main story. What's more, it has a slight "choose your own adventure" feel to it, as each day allows you to pick one of several characters to hang out with, which will affect much of the game's dialogue. The adventures often become downright hilarious as a result of each character's personality quirks.

The game's premise is as follows:

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College dropout Mae Borowski 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.

 

The key driver of much of the story's events is what choice of friend Mae hangs out with on a given day. Mae has three primary friends:

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Gregg (the fox) and Angus (the bear) have been a couple for years, with each working a job as a cashier to try and raise money for a move. Gregg is the hyper, energetic (and criminally-inclined) one of the pair, while Angus is the silent, nerdy one. Gregg serves as Mae's best friend, having gotten into all kinds of antics with her in the past.

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At the other end of the spectrum, there is Bea, a gruff crocodile who is always seen smoking. She is also Mae's former best friend, but has grown a little distant from her in their time apart. She can come off as cold, but she does still care about her friends. She is very bright despite her dark appearance, often allowing her to have intelligent (if blunt) insight.

I have already beaten the game once (I gave Gregg my hangout time exclusively) and am planning to play it again to try and get every path.

Oh, and if you need more persuading that this is a game to buy, just look at one of the first character animations you'll see.

 

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I'm surprised the game didn't had a topic before!

So far, Night in the Woods is seriously one of the best experiences I've had in awhile. I can vouch that despite the fact that I'm nowhere near the age of these characters (and thus can't relate with their adult problems), I still felt their struggle as very human, and I still felt like I related to them in so many ways. There's just something about a lot of the characters that really makes you go "That reminds me of someone I know", or "holy shit, that's totally me". The game succeeds to tell a narrative that tackles more complicated themes than other games so well, despite going for a completely different aesthetic. While a lot of the game is a lot of crazy and hilarious antics between Mae and her old friends, it also has just as much sincerity and heart in it. I think the hardest moments in the game are when there is no right decision you can say, where no matter what you say you will make things worse, and in that case you don't feel like your actions give yourself true agency but rather empathize Mae as a character. and thats awesome oh my god i could write an entire article on this and i probably am for a website oh geez

Another aspect I liked is a huge spoiler so I won't dive into those details, but Mae really develops as such a interesting character who's reasoning for simply dropping out of college is much more than what the game description lets on. She truly is a one-of-a-kind character, And it isn't just her. Gregg is a fun character who feels like he's grounded by reality and is not ready to accept the fact that he has to change if he wants his future with Angus, who's dealt with a hard past and spent most of his adult life with Gregg sharing his burden with him. Bea's struggle is one I've seen friends go through, where her entire life is turned upside down and she can't get out of her terrible situation, and she views Mae negatively because Mae had a chance in life (going to college) that Bea sorely wanted but then Mae just drops out like it's nothing (well that's until you find out about things later). And you're not going to be able to see all of this in one go.

I can't stress this enough to the people I've told this game about, but for an adventure game it's surprisingly replayable. If you just play it once, you'll be missing out on so much of the game. I'd bet there's about 20-30 hours of gameplay before you've truly seen mostly everything this game has to offer (counting multiple playthroughs). You'll miss out on so much detail regarding the characters and the world and it's definitely a negative if you just leave the game as it is the first time around. If you play this game (and damn it please do the dialogue is awesome the music is great and it's such a polished adventure with so many little details to it), play it 2-3 times and do everything with everyone.

and that's basically Night in the Woods.

One of the best games I've played this year.

I don't think I'll play many games this year that'll top it.

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Spoiler

I've seen the main game in action. The artstyle looks really nice. All the characters look cute. Gregg and Angus are adorable.

There's just one big problem tho'. Play the game, go though 10 hours and you get nothing of what the overarching plot is about, until you meet the spooky people in the bottom of the mines, get a huge chunk of exposition in one go, and suddenly the game ends. It's like the developers spent all this time crafting scenarios for the characters, forgot to do the plot and just stuck it in at the end. Does anyone find the plot development wasn't handled very well?

 

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16 minutes ago, PaddyFancy said:
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I've seen the main game in action. The artstyle looks really nice. All the characters look cute. Gregg and Angus are adorable.

There's just one big problem tho'. Play the game, go though 10 hours and you get nothing of what the overarching plot is about, until you meet the spooky people in the bottom of the mines, get a huge chunk of exposition in one go, and suddenly the game ends. It's like the developers spent all this time crafting scenarios for the characters, forgot to do the plot and just stuck it in at the end. Does anyone find the plot development wasn't handled very well?

 

 

I think it was handled rather like Hot Fuzz. Small town has a few unusual events, then it turns out there's a huge conspiracy behind it all.

The key difference is it's anticlimactic. Though honestly, I think this might have been played for laughs; it sounds as if the cult are this menacing force, then they are all unceremoniously killed off.

In the end, it's more of a story about growing up (or lack thereof), and the cult is just a sideshow. Which is understandable; they're not killing people constantly, only every so often. Mae just happened to stumble upon it. Despite the upsetting nature of what the cult is up to, they're all young people living relatively normal lives; the way the cult are so easily killed off reflects this. There are supernatural beings, but the cast are all normal people.

We're led to assume her dreams have supernatural meaning, but it's just as likely she has mental issues in general, and she just happened to run into something genuinely supernatural for a change (though I imagine her later weird dreams were indeed supernatural).

There's also another theme: the politics of it all. More than once it's invoked how the town is struggling, how everyone has a desperate situation there, and how the government cares nothing about it. Strangely enough, the cult and Bea both touch on the same economic issues in different ways in something that is eerily reminiscent of the 2016 US election. Indeed, the ending itself is bittersweet; not only is the town bound to be destroyed, we have little room for optimism for any of the characters.

Beneath all the cuteness and humor, there are some very sobering ideas at work in this. We don't get happy endings that often in reality, and yet life is still worth living. It's still worth it to grow up and try new things. I think that's what the story is getting at.

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I'll come back to make a more in-depth review on my experience with the game later, but for anyone who has played it through:

Can anyone find me Selmer's super long and awesome poem that she read at the library? I've been searching all around the internet and can't find it for the life of me haha. I want that shit on a poster or something homg.

Gregg rules ok.

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So I read the Fridge Horror page for this game on TV Tropes and...

 

The cultists recognize Mae's voice. Aunt Molly is nowhere to be seen in the epilogue. She also conveniently appears shortly after the arm is found. When Mae says she saw a kidnapper, Molly coincidentally talks about how in order to pull it off, the kidnapper would have to walk through walls... a power the cultists have; she keeps this up until Mae starts to doubt what she saw.

There's a strong chance she is one of the cultists, and Mae and co. killed her.

Holy SHIT.

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MandoPony's been pretty prolific on the NITW front!

He's made a cover of Die Anywhere Else:

A cover of Weird Autumn:

And an original song based on NITW, "Ghosts."

I must say I appreciate how originally FNAF seemed to be the indie game with all the fansongs, but ever since its release, numerous Youtube musicians tend to make at least one song for indie games - Undertale, Bendy and the Ink Machine, NITW, etc. While I guess the backstory behind the Guitar Hero segments of NITW was just that they had money leftover and needed to use it for something, they tapped into some serious meme power by creating several lyrical songs with no vocals... everybody with a microphone now had an easy song to try and perform.

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Weird Autumn Edition patch is now live! I'm still going through the game but so far one welcome change is that you can finally do guitar practice in Mae's room! Along with the songs you play during band practice, it also includes a few new ones. Very much a welcome addition!

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