Publisher: 1C Company
Through the Woods is a spooky, atmospheric walking simulator where you play as a mother searching for your missing son.
The story was compelling, and I was immediately captivated by the premise, and eagerly set out to find the missing son. I don’t want to spoil anything, but as the story progressed, it made some interesting turns. Once I learned about the main character’s backstory, she became completely unrelatable, and resulted in me not appreciating the narrative anywhere near as much as I did at the beginning.
There isn’t much to say about the gameplay, as it’s essentially a walking simulator. The added spookiness of the game is a nice touch, but this game is by no means a horror as described. The occasional deadly creatures that you have to bypass are interesting, but there aren’t that many of them. There are a couple enemies that chase you, and it reminded me a bit of Alan Wake where you need to use your flashlight to fend them off. I would have liked more encounters similar to that.
- intriguing story premise, with some interesting plot developments
- environments are great, and nature looks absolutely beautiful; the character designs are alright, but they don’t look anywhere near as nice as the environments do
- music and sound effects are excellent; the creepy parts of the game with ominous music and immersive environments had me feeling apprehensive about my surroundings
- very short for the price with no replay value (it took me a little over 2 hours to complete)
- significant frame drops (even on medium/low settings with a GTX 970)
- the voice acting could have been better; the mother’s dialog sometimes lacked emotion
- the main character’s backstory makes her completely unrelatable, and my enjoyment of the narrative declined from there
- (nitpick) game’s graphical options are severely limited, and to play the game smoothly, you’ll need to meet some hefty system requirements (GTX 980 or better)
- (nitpick) some minor texture popping can be distracting
There are collectibles, and lore stories to find on your journey, but I didn’t really want to explore. Mainly because of the way that the story is told, you feel a sense of urgency to find your missing son, so it’s unnatural, and uncharacteristic of a mother to want to stop and read stories while her son’s life could be in danger.
The game is extremely short for the price, and I expect that many people will experience performance issues since the system requirements are pretty high. Generally, I enjoy walking simulators, and I did like the eerie atmospheric feel of the game. The story was certainly intriguing; I really liked the overall premise of it, but I didn’t wind up liking it as much as I thought I would. If this is a game you’re interested in, I suggest waiting for a significantly discounted price.