By Nathan Grayson on October 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am.
You have infinite money, right? I mean, you look like the sort, what with your snazzy diamond-encrusted cane and hat/jacket ensemble knitted entirely from Kickstarter bonus swag. That in mind, what’s one more delightfully promising project to throw a worrisome amount of cash at? Because seriously, Night in the Woods has all the makings of quirky, wildly inventive greatness – with a hint of sincere humanity thrown in for good measure. Also, anarchic, mailbox-busting cats. The fact that the story-based adventure looks uniquely gorgeous certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Oh, and it’s from one of the minds behind ageless indie darling Aquaria. Bouncy, bobby, meow-y video below.
It’s about an angry, aimless cat named Mae who drops out of college to live in her parents’ attic. She returns home to find that her friends have grown apart and gone their own separate ways, and also that she has paranormal powers and a nearby forest has become maybe the apocalypse. But don’t let that bother you too much. You’ve got Life Stuff to attend to.
“Night In The Woods is a 2D story-focused adventure/exploration game with many extracurricular activities to enjoy, characters to meet, and secrets to discover. Run, jump, and use astral projection to explore the many sides of town of Possum Springs and the surrounding environs. Waste time around town with your crew of loser friends. Gain abilities that grant passage to new areas. Discover the secrets of a large cast of characters and the town itself. Experience a big crazy world and the remarkable events unfolding there. Play bass. Break stuff.”
It really does sound like more than a silly tale of cats, crocodiles, bears, and foxes, though. At heart, this is an undeniably human story about change, fear, and finding the strength to move on. The developers say Night in the Woods emerged from “that point where you sense things are changing and it’s time to move on but you just don’t know how. Knowing that everything will end someday, and wondering how well we’ll be able to meet it when it happens. How long we’ll be able to hold on, and when we should let go. When to accept and when to fight.”
I really like that.
Because it’s a struggle that never ends for any of us, and the terror of it can be paralyzing. Change is the one constant in this world, and many people do their damndest to resist it at every whiplash-inducing twist and turn. It’s because they’re scared. A game like this, if nothing else, is a powerful reminder that we’re not alone.
Night in the Woods doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, though, and I like that as well. Why waste time furrowing your brow until it looks like a tree trunk over change you can’t stop? Enjoy the ride.
Astonishingly, it’s already reached its goal of $50,000 on Kickstarter, so this one’s happening whether you back it or not. If all goes according to plan, the final game should be out in January of 2015, with a series of animated shorts preceding it in 2014. It seems pretty special. Are you going to back it?