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Night in the Woods - Game Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published March 28th 2018
The town of Possum Springs has a lot of secrets
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is something really different

Night in the Woods is one of the weirdest video games I have ever played. It is a single player game that focuses heavily on exploration, adventure, character development, narrative and hilarious writing. It was developed by Infinite Fall, Secret Lab and 22nd Century Toys and published by Finji. It was written by Bethany Hockenberry and Scott Benson and runs off the Unity Engine. It is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android. I purchased Night in the Woods on the Nintendo Switch. Night in the Woods was released on the Nintendo Switch in Australia on February 1st 2018.

Night in the Woods
Spend some time with your friends

Night in the Woods is set in a world populated with anthropomorphic animals. The main character of the game is a cat called Margaret "Mae" Borowski. After dropping out of college, Mae returns to her home town of Possum Springs, to find that the town has been struck by financial hardship after the closure of the local coal mine. Mae re-connects with old friends and spends some time exploring the town. At the same time, she is plagued by weird dreams, and rumours begin to spread of something strange happening down in the abandoned coal mines. Night in the Woods was funded via a Kickstarter campaign. The developers had a goal to raise US$50,000 but ended up making over 400% times that due to high levels of interest in the game.

Night in the Woods is an absolutely beautiful game. The game uses bright colours and simple shapes to create a world that looks like something out of a cartoon or a children's picture book.
How the game works is you take control of Mae and wander around the town of Possum Springs and interact with residents and old friends. You will explore the town, climb on top of things, spend time with friends, explore your dreams, write down things in your notebook and figure out puzzles.

Night in the Woods
Run around town and talk to your neighbours

The game has a lot of cut scenes and uses a lot of text bubbles to convey information. It took me a while to really get into this game. It can move quite slowly at times and can be a little boring. And yet despite that, something about Night in the Woods hooked me. Night in the Woods almost feels like an episode of TV than your typical video game. It takes time to build up its plot. You will get to know Mae and her parents and her friends very well before the story goes down a dark path.

Night in the Woods
Explore your dreams

The game took an interesting turn for me when you get the chance to explore Mae's subconscious in her dreams. The dream sequences were dark and provided some interesting puzzles to solve and were wonderfully creepy.

I also really enjoyed the writing. Mae comes across as immature, impulsive, and childish. In one scene she visits the local mall with her friend Bea. When she discovers that the place has been left to rot and most of the stores have shut down, she pesters Bea with dozens of questions about what happened. Bea tells her "I'm just going to write a sign that says 'The Internet' until you stop talking'. Mae is crestfallen.

Night in the Woods is a game about mental illness, growing up, the struggles of the lower and middle class, and depression. It plays really well on the Nintendo Switch. It is available on the Nintendo e-shop for $29.99. If you like playing games that are a little bit different and have a strong, single player story, definitely give this one a go.
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Why? Night in the Woods is a single player adventure game that uses storytelling and character development to tell a story about mental health, depression, the struggles of the middle and lower class and growing up.
When: This game is available on consoles and mobile devices
Where: Available on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android
Cost: $26 - $30
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