First impressions of Through the Woods are positive
Another day another indie game on Kickstarter? Perhaps, but after playing through the demo for Antagonist’s narrative-driven horror game “Through the Woods” I can safely say this is one of the better titles currently in development.
The game puts you in the role of a mother whose child was recently kidnapped. She is convinced that the culprit is “Old Erik”, a creature of folklore that takes away disobedient children, and has followed it a forested island in an attempt to rescue her son. In actuality, players play through a flashback as the mother relays the story to a detective trying to help her. This ends up being used as a cool storytelling tool wherein gameplay elements and locales are contextualized by the protagonist explaining their significance to the understandably-skeptical detective. It also gives the player back-story during lulls between tense moments that make the jog through the forest more interesting; I am usually not much of a fan of the ‘walking simulator’ style of horror games, but had no problem with Through the Woods as a result of its clever storytelling.
And believe me, this game is most definitely a walking simulator, as the entire 20-minute demo consisted of strolling through untamed nature. The game utilizes a third-person perspective with an over-the-shoulder camera style. By pressing the mouse-button the character will take out a flashlight, which is used to detect tiny reflectors left around the environment that lead the way to Old Erik’s hiding place. You shine your light around and follow the reflectors, all the while listening to the narration and enjoying the scenery. For a while I began to wonder if there would be actual scares in the game, when suddenly I heard a faint growl in the distance. Wolves? A bear? Maybe some other wild animal? None of that, I turned around and found myself eye-to-eye with some sort of unfriendly-looking moss giant. I panicked, ran into a tree, and got eaten by it.
Indeed, while most of the game is like a peaceful stroll, it will feature monsters that must be avoided. According to the developer, these are inspired by Norse mythology. Other sources of inspiration include Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Fatal Frame, so I was really warming up to the game by this point. Sadly, the demo ended soon after my encounter with the first monster.
Through the Woods is currently on Kickstarter with just over two weeks left to raise its funding goal of $40.000. It’s an ambitious game with an interesting setting and I am eager to explore more of its story. The demo wasn’t perfect, I still found myself walking around in silence too often and the visual were kind of blurry, but with the right support those issues can be ironed out. If you want to learn more or help Antagonist produce this game, then visit the Kickstarter page sourced below.