mon 11/12/2017

A Day In The Woods | reviews, news & interviews

A Day In The Woods

A Day In The Woods

A simple but challenging puzzle with terrific good looks

A Day In The Woods

A common tactic among games developers is to take a very simple game and dress it up with graphical frills until it appears special. There are any number of classic games that have been cloned and tarted up with a 3D makeover or rebadged with licensed characters to attract a new generation of players but few that manage to keep that audience for long.

A Day In The WoodsA Day In The Woods is a very simple puzzle game based on sliding tiles. It is, as far as I can tell, original but has the feel of a classic logic puzzle like Theseus and the Minotaur or Fox and Goose. What makes it shine is both the solidity of its core mechanic and some very polished and attractive presentation.

The aim of the game is to get Little Red Riding Hood to Grandma’s house. Or at least one of several properties inhabited by LRR’s many relatives. Maybe Grandma has a lot of buy-to-let investments.

The woods take the form of hexagonal tiles, containing either open ground, an object like a boulder or beehive, Red herself and hostile creatures like bears, giant spiders or the Big Bad Wolf. To get Red to her destination you must swap the tiles around by moving a glowing will’o’the wisp around the board, according to certain rules.

Some tiles, like boulders or tree stumps, are immovable while fruit trees and flowers remain fixed until Red passes by to pick them. Red can’t move next to an enemy creature and ties must be rearranged to give her safe passage.

Bears can’t move near campfires but can be distracted by beehives.. and so on. Each level is carefully constructed with a par number of moves to be beaten and bonus stars are awarded for quick solutions as well as paths which collect any flowers or fruit on offer.

A Day In The WoodsThe bonus stars you collect by beating each level can be spent to unlock new backgrounds and colour schemes or cosmetic flare for your sprite like fairy wings or ethereal trails. It’s nothing that really expands the game but on the other hand there are no pay-to-win items that need to be unlocked either.

The 60 levels on offer quickly crank up the difficulty level and add further complications such as a helpful woodcutter but really, that’s all there is to it. What sells the game is the lovely presentation. The board and its inhabitants are gorgeously designed to resemble wooden playing pieces and combine with crisp sound effects to make the game feel like a physical toy an devery move feels tangible and satisfying. The par counter and Undo buttons nudge you into looking for the most effective route and the unlockables are a fun if inconsequential extra.

A Day In The Woods won’t be for everyone. Some of the early levels feel more difficult than perhaps they should and it is easy to get stuck. There are also several groups of levels that just seem to offer slight variations on a theme. A little more variety would not go amiss but this is a challenging yet accessible puzzle suitable for all ages.

@stuarthoughton

Maybe Grandma has a lot of buy-to-let investments.

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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