Through the Woods Reviews

AuthorReview
Jujii8
359,141 (185,855)
Jujii8
TA Score for this game: 1,545
Posted on 16 May 19 at 15:54
This review has 2 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Are we out of the woods yet?

Through the Woods Review

Through the Woods is an adventure game with light horror elements. It tells the story of a mother looking for her son who was taken by a man in the woods. It dives deep into Nordic folklore and is reminiscent of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice if it was free of combat. While the story itself is pretty straight-forward, there is plenty of lore to be found for players searching hard enough.

Presentation
The game mostly takes place in the woods at night. Because of this, the environment can start to feel mundane and very dark. While this is part of the atmosphere, it does not make it any more visually pleasing in these moments. However, this is counteracted by downright beautiful spectacles during other times including a colorful sky at sunrise and a grand image during the final act. The few enemies in the game range from decent-looking to generic and dull. The audio and foley the game provides does help to create an accurate representation of what wandering through the woods alone would be like. The inclusion of unknown creature sounds and screaming witches conveys a haunting feeling at times. The voice-acting is melodramatic, but it does its job. I did enjoy the accent the son had, whether it was genuine or not. It certainly provided great entertainment to me.

Gameplay
Through the Woods is very simplistic in its gameplay. There is no puzzle-solving or combat. There is only running through the woods, avoiding monsters, and collecting reflectors your son has left behind among other optional collectibles. You are armed with a flashlight, which acts as a pseudo-weapon (and later, a torch). Because the game is mainly running through the woods, it can become quite tedious doing so, especially when the woods are dull. The mysteroius folklore and unraveling story involving the mother's relationship with her son and ex-husband do inject a sense of purpose along with actually finding Espen, your son. But really, it's barebones gameplay that could have used an extra element to keep things fresh.

Several times, the game crashed on me. It happened 3 times, causing me to have to launch the game again. While checkpoints are numerous, it was annoying. During one of the restarts, my character no longer had her flashlight with her. While I wasn't at a point where it was vital to have it, it did cause confusion. Luckily, once I reached the next section of loading, the flashlight reappeared.

Achievements
The achievements in the game are what you'd expect from this type of game. They consist of story progression, collectible, death-related, and off=the-beaten-path achievements. Using a guide will certainly aid you in completing the game as efficiently as possible. Without a guide, many of the optional collectibles and miscellaneous encounters will probably not be found unless you're very thorough. Since the majority of the woods looks the same, it could be very easy to get lost. It's a short game though, so playing through once naturally and playing a second time to mop up would not take too long.

Final Thoughts
Through the Woods is lackluster, especially compared to games of a similar vein such as Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. While the story and parts of the atmosphere can be engaging, the monotony of the rest of the gameplay and environments does not help to keep the player invested. It is an easy 1000GS with a guide. There may be minor bugs causing crashes and/or glitches. It was an overall forgettable journey for me. It had interesting ideas, but the execution stopped the game from really shining.
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