Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries

Data Break Up
Game: Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries
Genre: Action, Adventure, indie, platformer
Developer: GRIN
Publisher: Rebellion
Release Date: Mar 17, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  5/10
Graphics: 8/10
Controls: 4/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 4/10
Sound: 6.5/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 2/10
Community: N/A

In Woolfe, you take on the role of Red, as in Red Riding Hood, who is off to find the truth about the “accident” that led to her father’s early demise. I have to say I rather liked the idea of the story, the way it has a different take on a classic, expanding, and changing the world around the basic storyline; though the way it was delivered to us, with the rhyming and all was a bit… not quite to my taste.

Red Riding Hood is basically an action-y platformer in 2.5D, which means there’ll be lots of jumping, some puzzling, and some fighting.

Let me get this out there first: the keyboard controls SUCK. I was too lazy to try getting, plugging in, and configuring my controller, so I can’t comment on whether it’s better or not with it, but if you’re going to use the keyboard, don’t even bother. The keys are all over the place, the controls are uncomfortable and clunky and don’t respond too well.

Fighting in Woolfe is not really nicely dealt with either. Hit, run, hit, run. It’s boring and a bit bland, even though you gain skills as you progress through the story, it just doesn’t cut it.

The music is nice, but it can get rather repetitive. The voice acting isn’t bad, but I didn’t find it to be great either. Speaking of which, the game is kind of “heavy”, not overly good in older or lower specs PCs as it can run kind of sluggish in parts. Most of the part where you’re actively playing will work good, but the start and menu screens, as well as the cut-scenes were pretty choppy on my PC.

That said, I liked the art, it was nice and detailed, some of the areas were really beautiful, and although Red’s model wasn’t particularly cute, it offered a nice contrast with the usual “drawing” style of similar games. However, because of its 2.5D setting and the way it was handled and shaded, the art style made it hard to actually judge the depth in some areas – whether they were background or foreground. I’ve played other 2.5D games that managed to easily show you which was front and which was back, it wasn’t always quite so clear on Woolfe and sometimes I’d get stuck wondering why things weren’t working when it was just because it was on another level. This was particularly bothersome as there are some stealthy parts to the game play which were fun to play, but annoying if you misjudged the 2.5D part…

Overall, it’s a pretty average game with rather awful controls.

Do I recommend it? Meh. If I were forced to choose, I’d give it a “Yes” for the story and general looks, but be prepared to deal with horrible controls.

Whispering Willows

 

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Break Up
Game: Whispering Willows
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: Night Light Interactive
Publisher: Night Light Interactive
Release Date: jul 9, 2014
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 8/10
Level/Puzzle Design:7/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Replay Value: 5/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

Whispering Willows is a Horror(ish)/Adventure puzzle game by Night Light Interactive. In it you play as Elena, who is looking for her father. Elena has powers that allow her to spirit-walk (or astral-project, as you may want to call it), which will help her solve puzzles, talk to ghosts, and help them move on. The game has some basis of Native American folklore, which might make it of particular interest to some.

Although the game is fairly simple and short, it has a lot going for it.
The story is interesting enough, though to get the full impact of it you really need to read all the notes you find, and not just skip them. The 2D graphics quite beautiful in their simplicity, yet still detailed enough in the backgrounds that you find yourself noticing all those little special things. The soundtrack and sounds are quite fitting the mood of the game throughout.

In Whispering Willows you’re searching for your missing father at the Willows Mansion, which is full of secrets and ghosts and passageways. You will spend most of your time moving around the maps trying to find items, secrets and such, sometimes on your body, sometime by spirit walking.
The puzzles aren’t too easy, but they’re also not incredibly hard, making them just about the right spot where you won’t necessarily feel compelled to quit or look up the answer, but will also not find it immediately for most of them. Some do require quite a bit of backtracking though, and when I played the game you could only walk and not run. I hear this has been fixed now, as the developer is very present on the forums.

It can be a bit easy to get lost as it has several locations, and at the time of playing it the game had no map system (I don’t think it’s been added, but I’m not sure) which had me backtracking and getting lost in a few parts.
The game might also seem a bit slow to some, though if you’re used to Adventure games, the pacing shouldn’t be a problem.

The replay value of this game is decent – you will probably want to play it again at some point, but likely not soon after finishing it.

All in all, I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a short, more paranormal than horror story with a good story.