Aquaria Dev’s Night In The Woods Looks Really Special

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┬áhuman 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?

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41 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Niko says:

    Okay, that trailer gave me major chills. Like it’s a work of art or something. Ridiculous, I know.

  1. Terragot says:

    I wonder if the trailer done by the same whoever who did the one for Indie Game : The Movie? It’s a very similar style.

    Looks cool, you have my curiosity.

  2. Niko says:

    Okay, that trailer gave me major chills. Like it’s a work of art or something. Ridiculous, I know.

    • Paroxysm says:

      One of the more evocative things I’ve seen in quite a while. There’s clearly some very thoughtful design going on here.

    • JFS says:

      This is what I want all of my games to look and feel like.

    • DXN says:

      Yes. This is another great example of games finally starting to grow up. Backed!

  3. CrowPath says:

    Never been one to use the word delightful, but there we go…

  4. Lars Westergren says:

    > Are you going to back it?

    Way ahead of you.
    :)

    If you are drowning in money, there is also 35 hours left on this one which also looks pretty spectacular from an art perspective (don’t know how it will play though). A little Nightmare Before Christmas/Jan ┼ávankmajer vibe. It also (just) made it, so: happy times.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2011341880/knite-and-the-ghost-lights

  5. Gap Gen says:

    I can’t fling any more money at the screen! Quick, someone get me more money to fling! More!

  6. blobb says:

    It’s just prettiness for the sake of prettiness. Clearly no game there. Sorry.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Other side of the bed. It’s good. Try it.

    • Paroxysm says:

      Exactly I mean all they’ve shown is platforming, exploration, environmental and character interactions and some kind of narrative driving the whole thing. Who could ever make a game with those elements? Geez if only they had cards or maybe a leaderboard we’d be talking.

    • phlebas says:

      Have you played Aquaria?

    • Doghaus says:

      lolwut

    • RedViv says:

      The Raphaels are breeding like bunnies, I see.

  7. Hideous says:

    The speech bubbles in the image at the top are in the wrong order, and that bothers me way more than I want to admit.

    At least it’s really damn pretty.

  8. Doghaus says:

    Looks incredible, and I love the sound of the setting/plot, looks like a stylish metroidvania with important stuff to say about life, friendship and moving back in with your parents (this is the kind of maturity I want more of in my computer games, you hear that AAA devs? Boobs and murder are generally the opposite of mature, ok?). Music gave me chills too.

  9. povu says:

    Aquaria was a big surprise to me. I got it on the very first Humble Indie Bundle and didn’t play it for about a year, thinking it looks like some weird girly mermaid game. So when I gave it a try I was very surprised that it was actually really good.

    • Melonfodder says:

      A few of the humble bundles have had some really great games in them that I am yet to discover. Waking Mars has been one of those that I’ve been playing on the phone here and there – I think Aquaria is going to be my next indie darling game.

  10. surftuft says:

    I really want a desktop sized version of the title picture. Very pretty.

  11. LordCiego says:

    So, what happened to Marian?

    • Jalan says:

      Was going to ask this exact question. The last time I remember reading anything about it was in 2011 and now Holowka seems to have wiped it out of his portfolio site so maybe it’s just entirely DOA. Which is a bit sad, since what was there of it looked fantastic.

  12. Shaun239 says:

    That trailer just kicked my Kickstarter-fatigue in the nuts. Looks gorgeous.

  13. Contrafibularity says:

    This looks and sounds absolutely lovely.

  14. cpt_freakout says:

    Was on the fence, saw the trailer, said “a thousand times yes” and now I’m off to agonize until 2015.

  15. Monkeh says:

    My oh my, this is one charming looking game.

    Was planning on stopping with backing Kickstarter games until some of the ones I’ve already backed are released, but this just looks too good not to support!

  16. particlese says:

    Woah, this doesn’t even look like a game. That is to say: Most of the time I thought I was watching some modern animated commercial with smoothness and polish that no game could possibly have. Aquaria was smooth, but this is something else…

    As much as I loved Aquaria and want to support Alec, though, the vibe of this one doesn’t appeal much to me, so I’m glad to see it’s already been funded (up to 68 kilodollars now). Maybe I’ll go with the $1 hug option. Kickstarter is so much better than preorder exclusives!

  17. Stevostin says:

    This might be the most beautiful game I’ve seen this year. Or ever.

  18. Dozer says:

    Is that a noisy take on Gill Sans I see before me?

  19. Nevard says:

    I am in love with this trailer

  20. Shooop says:

    I really like that art style and animation. It’s awesome.

    But what’s the game like? Other than walking around and vandalizing mailboxes what will you be doing in it?

  21. Randomer says:

    Does anyone have an idea why Kickstarter and Vimeo videos won’t play in my Chromium browser, but Youtube videos will? I have the Adobe Flash Player – Version: 11.2 r202 plugin.

    • Wedge says:

      Do you have any kind of flash/ad blocking stuff going on? I dunno bout Chromium, but having a bunch of blockers in Firefox has always made embeded Vimeo stuff never work, though KS videos are fine.

    • The Random One says:

      Recently the fullscreen button on KS videos stopped working unless I’m on the project page, and if I am it fills the browser instead of the whole screen, so they definitively changed something. I’m using Firefox.

  22. Wedge says:

    Pffft, just looks like a game full of gay hipster furries.

    No really though, it does look lovely. But still pretty fucking hipster. I mean what the fuck, he lives in a fucking magical indie gaming house? Vancouver is Canada’s Portland, so I guess it’s not that surprising though.

    I just hope it’s not one of those stupid wistful treaties on twenty-something youth like Local or something.

  23. Shodex says:

    This is the first time I’ve really been compelled to back something on KS, there’s been a lot of really great things coming out of KS but they’re usually all “finally, more of that thing we loved so long ago.” This looks really interesting, the art style is pretty and you can tell it’s a labor of love and not greed. I’ll support any game that really shapes up to be something unique, and something good.

    • Shodex says:

      Just coming back to say that I can’t stop watching that trailer. Having never played Aquaria, though I’ve owned it on Steam for ages, I’m now going to start it up with much interest.

  24. Fliver says:

    Strongly reminds me of Old Fangs, what with the football eyed animals, twenty somethings returning home, evil in the woods, and all. I’m not confident in a game’s ability to capture the joy of destroying your home town, particularly in a platformer where the world narrows down to what you can interact with, but damn is Night in the Woods gorgeous.

    • DXN says:

      Holy stunner, that’s a gorgeous piece. Thanks for the link!

      Who knows how fully this game will manage to capture that sort of depth of feeling/expression/”art”, but I’ve got high hopes for it.