Hands on with Woolfe : The Red Hood Diaries
by Suzanne Verras
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of my favorite stories as a child was that of Red Riding Hood. She was a sweet, but naïve girl, falling into the trap of a wolf. Luckily, the huntsman saves Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, the wolf’s belly is filled with rocks and he is thrown into a well. In Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries by GriN, the story goes a bit differently. In this action 2.5D platformer, Red Riding Hood isn’t the sweet innocent girl and she doesn’t need any help from a huntsman. She wants to avenge her father’s death all by herself.
Woolfe, has a demo available on Steam; the same one that was shown at Gamescom, earlier this year. I played it… and it is awesome. There are three short parts for you to try out: The Sewer Side, Meaner Pastures and Heavy Metal. All begin with a little cut-scene. It turns out Red’s father, Lead Engineer at Woolfe Industries, died in a working accident, which probably wasn’t so much of an accident. Four years later, the start of the game, Red Riding Hood returns to her hometown which has turned into a grim and nasty place. Every day little girls are being kidnapped, and the CEO of Woolfe Industries, BB Woolfe rules the town with an iron rule.
The game doesn’t re-tell the Brothers Grimm’s Red Riding Hood, but takes the lore and turns it into its own twisted and far more grim story (ha, grim). The environment fits the sinister mood amazingly. The first part of the demo is called The Sewer Side and it brings up, well the horrible sewers obviously. As a 2.5D platformer Woolfe works really well. It opens up more area to explore, but you have to look twice before you jump. Sometimes a ledge ends a little bit earlier than you first thought. In the sewers you have to rotate wheels to open up gates or activate certain mechanisms to solve puzzles and make a path for Red Riding Hood to jump across. There was one part at the end of the level where there where two rotation wheels next to two gates with a door in between. Each of the wheels opened the opposite gate which slowly closed once activated. You had to make it all the way across to the other side before the gate closed, which was a bit tricky.
Meaner Pastures takes place in a forest area, where you run from left to right, back and forth on rocks and unstable wooden bridges, while fighting off some evil fairies. With the hack-and-slash combat you will defeat these little foes pretty easily, so that you can continue on your merry way through the not so nice forest. Although the combat isn’t very rewarding, the jumping really is. It feels nice and smooth with Red Riding Hood being light on her feet. The dynamic environment really creates the challenge. There are collapsing and disappearing bridges and plants that try to squash you, making you think twice before you bash right in.
Heavy Metal is the part where the combat, puzzles and platmorning comes together. It’s called Heavy Metal, because the factory of Woolfe Industries is where it goes down. The Toy Soldiers that attack you are a bit harder to take down then the fairies, but still manageable. There is also an enormous cogwheel you have to dodge to get to the end of the demo. I managed to run right into it, because it’s blended into the background, so it’s unexpected.
From this short demo, it’s clear that a lot of work has gone into Woolfe. It still needs to be polished here and there and the combat could be more challenging, but it plays pretty smooth and the art and level design are amazing
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/suzanne.jpg” ] Suzanne Verras is a freelance writer and a university student from Leiden, The Netherlands. She is a video game enthusiast, but also loves movies and art. She has her own video game, film and art blog called Miss Lily Blogs where she posts all kinds of articles as well as her Let’s Plays. Her favorite games include Bioshock, Myst, Ratchet and Clank and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. In the future she hopes to be writing full-time and one of her dreams is to sell her artwork one day. You can follow her on Twitter: MissLilyTweets. [/author]