Mable & The Wood Lets You Avoid The Boss Fights

It has finally happened! I have used my powers successfully, and can hang up my cape. Whether for good or for evil is for you to decide, but forthcoming pixel action-exploration game Mable & The Wood [official site] (just about to ding its Kickstarter goal in the final 48 hours) is going to let you choose between battling boss monsters, or working out how to avoid them entirely. And apparently this is in response to my excellent Guacamelee review! It’s also, we’re told, driving backers to poetry. Is this a force that can be stopped?

There are many interesting ideas present here. Mable can shapeshift into the forms of the creatures she’s previously killed, which is neat, but also apparently very dangerous. It seems that Mable’s powers are what is destroying the world she’s trying to save, and the more of the game you play – levels chosen in you order you wish from an overhead map – the worse the situation gets and the harder it is.

Play fewer areas and you’ll have fewer of Mable’s abilities, play more and the difficulty will hike in response. Gosh, this is interesting stuff, right? This goes for the boss monsters, selectable from the map, but also yours not to fight – however, if you don’t, you won’t gain their abilities that could prove useful for combat elsewhere. And the combat is looking pretty neat too – take a look at the pitch video which begins with lots of in-game footage:

And if you want even more, there’s a demo on Itch.

The game is aiming to be out next February.


  1. SomeDuder says:

    Nice! Soon, we’ll just not have to play games anymore! It’s like the only way to win is not to play! Perfect! Thank you for your service!

    • Haplo says:

      Or rather the only way to win won’t be as relevant because the player’s style will have more influence in how beating the game is achieved.

      One of the most persistent criticisms of Deus Ex: Human Revolution was that it offered various paths to complete a game, yet shoehorned players into having to participate in boss fights which ignored many of the players’ actual playstyles in lieu of a more toe-to-toe setup. That was seen as a mistake, hence the criticisms there.

      There’s really nothing wrong with games expanding to permit a broader stable of playstyles and then happily accommodating them.

  2. -funkstar- says:

    First off, how is “work out how to avoid them” not playing the game?

    Also, games are one of the few media that comes with significant gating. It’s at least reasonable to assume that it is because of it’s coin-up heritage, but unlike most other art and entertainment forms, games seem to cling to it, and it’s somewhat difficult to me not to see it as a sign of immaturity of the medium.

    If a book offers you a word or passage that you cannot comprehend, you can ignore it. If a movie has a disturbing scene, you can look away. If an album has a song you don’t like, skip it. If a board game has a difficult to interpret rule, or a rule that breaks your enjoyment, make a house rule instead. If you cannot apprehend any deeper meaning in a piece of art, you’re still free to enjoy it at other levels of abstraction. But if a game offers you a boss fight you cannot overcome, you’re usually just stuck. Why should that be?

    • -funkstar- says:

      *sigh* Edit button, we hardly knew ye. This was meant as a comment to SomeDuder

      Also, it’s coin-up heritage -> its coin-up heritage.

  3. Pazguato says:

    I played Guacalemee recently and I had great fun. I didn’t find any problem with boss fights, though. Maybe they fixed it with the new super turbo edition?

    • madve2 says:

      Yepp, in Super Turbo you can “cheese” most boss fights using your Intenso powerup. Also, the most notorious of bosses, Jaguar Javier, has been tweaked a bit as well as far as I know.

  4. Kaeoschassis says:

    Obligatory mention of Daniel Remar’s marvelous game Iji, which while on the surface is a fairly classic run-and-gun platformer, can be beaten with a kill-count of zero, and has various interesting ways to get around (most of) the boss fights.

    • Premium User Badge

      Waltorious says:

      Yes! Everyone should play Iji. It is excellent, and free.

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    So, the main objective is to save the world? If that is so and your powers negatively affect the world you would want to find the most efficient and shortest route to victory (and the end of the game).

    That makes me wonder how obvious that path is and how easy. And aside from that, whether there are in-game reasons to not do so. Perhaps in a second playthrough or in a different gamemode?