Whatever you may say, noone can be surprised by current horror games. It’ supposed to be dark, scary, bloody and nasty enough, so that you will go to your parent’s bedroom for the rest of the night. Such games can’t be objectively criticized. Each one of them looks like the one next to it and usually can’t justify the brick road, whatever the color must be, built. There are even fewer exceptions and ones with a worthy story can be counted by fingers.
Horror is always an “easy-to-do” thing, where all you have to do is to add a couple screamers, minimal lightind and scary sounds of agonizing victims sreaming. However, this won’t to for a grown masculine person, who is eager to hide in a closet somehow.
Our today’s guest is Through the woods by Antagonist company from Norway, which is not a horror at all. But that we will discuss later.
First things first. Through the woods is the very first game for the company. No exaggeration would be words, that the company gathered money on the development from all over the world. Grants, personal savings, kickstarted – all went on game development. As a result, Antagonist gathered about 44 thousand dollars to make the game.
Nothing especially new was created, of course. The traditional recipe was upgraded with family drama, sound effects and other cool stuff, like flashlight and no ability to fight.
If you want to see forests of Norway, but have no money for a ticket, the game may patially make your dream come true. You can walk along the woods and local rivers for hours, which actually is what Espen does, while his mom is over her head in work. What could go wrong?
Despite all expectations, Espen is taken by some stranger old man. Of course, the “hero-mother” rushes after the kidnapper, crossing the strait in a jacket, boots, with an empty bag and a funny beanie. The game starts on the other shore.
With nothing else in hands, but the flashlight, our protagonist sets off in search of her son. The first obstacle on her way is no landmarks. The island is enormous, number of different paths, caves and roads seem to be uncountable. And you can’t ask the way – genre demands the island to be empty.
Although, the developers were merciful to players and added all kinds of hints and guides, helping to get around the island in the right, story direction. Rune stones, son’s favorite toys (sometimes it even seems like he’s had too much free time end endless pockets), bridges, abandoned houses (probably inhabited by bears, judging by candles and beds).
On her way, Karen realises that her son is a victim of an old Norwegian tale about Old Eric, which is a giant, who kidnaps children with bad behaviour. As a “true mom”, She decides to find and punish the giant.
The pecularity of Through the woods is the fact that the action in game is a describtion of things, that have already happened. On her way, Karen will find pieces of interview, in which she describes her actions. And it would be alright if it wasn’t for Karen’s voice, which doesn’t reflect any feelings at all. No face animation or voice. Seems like she want’s to sleep or something. Well, according to her work at nights, maybe she does.
Through the woods doesn’t have a super-scary atmosphere or screamers or a scary Norwegian forest, which is actually a fairy-tale for 12-year old kids. Fair to say that the story is good and unpredictable. The madness here is really good. Although, it won’t scare anyone either.