So YIIK was a hipster ridden game that people were very annoyed by and against. Well this time, it’s time for us to talk about a game that is hipster ridden that people are quite fond of. To an extent, of course. It does have it’s haters, but this game has far more support than it does hate. And I am referring to the indie adventure title, Night in the Woods. Or as many people like to call it, Life is Strange… But Good.
Image from castingcall.club
Night in the Woods takes place in the small town of Possum Springs, which has slowly been losing family businesses in place of larger businesses, with the town’s residents slowly leaving one by one. The main character is a cat named Mae, who moves back into town after dropping out of college, so that she can just live her life with her friends, funny fox boy Greg, his boyfriend, the lovable bear Angus, and the goth alligator Beatrice. But after some time, strange things happen, like Mae having bizarre dreams at night as well as robbed figures appearing around the town and kidnapping people. It’s all fun and games until you really look into this game. But we will get into that later.
Night in the Woods is a very charming game, from it’s characters to its environments to its music. At the start of the game, you are given the chance to explore and talk to the residence of the town, and to get some of their stories out of them. There’s the girl who writes poetry, the teacher who looks at constellations, the town priest helping out a travelling hobo, an old woman who knew Mae’s grandfather. The town really feels alive with all these characters. Growing up in a small town myself, you really get to know the people around the town, so when you get to talk to these people and hear what they say on a daily basis, you really start to know these characters and get to enjoy their company. But the real highlights with interactions comes from when you get the choice of who to hang out with. Do you hang out with Greg or do you hang out with Bea. I’ve seen countless Let’s Players go down the Greg route, and while Greg is a great character and the funniest part of the game hands down, I personally spent most of my time with Bea, wanting to see what she was up to and what she did. And it was… not funny like Greg. Not at all. It had moments, but a lot of it was Bea dealing with jealousy and struggling to support her deadbeat dad because it was all she had and it’s just a sad story to watch and you just wanna help her out. God knows I did.
And of course, there’s all the side activities you can do in this game. You can go and help out a group of mice by stealing pretzels and feeding them until they’re grown, you can go and get a small band back together in an abandoned building, and my personally favorite, you can hang out with Germ Warfare, an incredibly weird kid who just randomly has sticks of dynamite and is always hanging around the group despite them not really understanding what he is like. But he means well, and that’s what matters. I just can’t get enough of this town and their residents. It’s just too close to home. Also just too close to home is the character of Mae herself. When I hear the word relatable, I just groan and roll my eyes when it’s mentioned. I feel like to be relatable, you gotta make an entire characters personality be a disability or a sexuality these days and work out the other stuff later, if at all. And I just can’t stand to hear that. But Mae, despite being a furry, is as real as they get. A college drop out with a ton of self loathing and insulting herself, throwing herself into danger for fun when she really doesn’t care, and her own disorder that is revealed at the end that makes her worry for herself and her family while some of the town’s residents are scared of her. And every time she tries to do something right, her own self loathing gets in the way and makes her mess up again, and it upsets her. It even breaks her. I just want to hug Mae. She doesn’t deserve this. I definitely felt for Mae more than I did characters like Max and Chloe. Can’t I lose Arcadia Bay AND Chloe, please?
And despite all the humor and the…. Moments that aren’t so humorous, the game actually manages to bring in some horror into it as well. Yes, there is horror in this cute game about animals that play in a band and be really, really gay. Not only is there cults, but also ancient gods, eldritch horror. In a game that people just passed off as furry and hipster catering. And it’s incredibly terrifying once you get to the reveal of it and incredibly horrifying how the game ends. I won’t specify how it ends… Just that… Not the way you’d expect, and not in an incredibly happy way for everyone. Just in a way that they decide that this is the best possible outcome.
I honestly don’t know what I can say about this game that I haven’t already said in my article for the Top 100. This is only the third article of In-Indie, but Night in the Woods is easily my favorite indie game out there. It’s a game that I find to be too real in all the right ways and touched me the most. I can’t say whether or not video games are art or not, but I can say that Night in the Woods, in my eyes, is a true work of art.
Next time on In-Indie: We beat up some punks with our friends