Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries is a sweet gem of a platformer. As the name suggests, The Red Hood Diaries derives its narrative from the well-known story, Little Red Riding Hood. A combination of fairy tale imagery, industrial environments, and a retro-modern vibe craft a unique fantasy environment, the better to play within.

Woolfe- The Red Hood Diaries

Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are looking…vengeful.

A quick backstory explains that Red Hood’s home town of Ulrica has fallen under the maniacal control of factory owner and businessman B.B. Woolfe. Red Hood’s father worked for Woolfe, and was killed under mysterious circumstances. Shortly thereafter, Hood’s mother disappeared. We meet Red Riding Hood, who might seem diminutive in stature, but I’d hate to call her “little.” Rather, she’s independent, vengeful, and swings an axe as perfectly as Jack Torrance. This is certainly not the Little Red Riding Hood from days of old. Nor is her story a fairy tale, and as she puts it “…nothing is fair here [Ulrica].”

Woolfe- The Red Hood Diaries

Is that real wolf fur on your coat Mr. Woolfe?

Gone is the naïve, helpless Red Riding Hood, replaced by this badass character. Despite Red Hood’s explanation that this is no fairy tale, there are certainly many fantasy elements which harken back to such narratives. Hood’s narration arrives in a rhyming patter, like twisted Mother Goose lyrics. Combined with the dark atmosphere, there’s a hint of American McGee’s Alice, an unavoidable comparison. Yet “Woolfe” is much more action-oriented, rather than the predominantly horror American McGee’s Alice.

Woolfe- The Red Hood Diaries

What a sweet basket grandma! Perfect for someone who is hungry like the wolf.

As in the fairy tale, Red Hood dons the obligatory red cape, and her grandma even prepares a pleasant picnic basket, complete with baguette, wind bottle, and red-white checkered blanket. What a sweet grandmother. Clearly she isn’t related to me. Mixed in with the traditional imagery is steampunk streak, evident in the harsh industrial environments that invade the quaint thatched-roof buildings, and Woolfe’s mechanical soldiers. This latter aspect recalls Syberia. The traditional depictions meshed with darker tones and physical settings lend Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries a retro-modern feel.

Woolfe- The Red Hood Diaries

Ahwoo! B.B. Woolfe of Ulrica. Ahwoo!

However, it’s interesting to note that the original iterations of Grimms’ fairy tales were often, well, grim. So the sterilized, Disney versions we’re fed are actually less accurate. In a way, “The Red Hood Diaries” is a simultaneous new direction and throwback, mixing classic images and novel concepts. At this point, the Little Red Riding Hood’s general origin story isn’t new. However, Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries loosely adapts Red Riding Hood’s narrative into a world of industrialization, martial law, and oppressive factory owners. In the original incarnation, a wolf plays the villain. Sure, he’s got big teeth, big eyes, big hands, and…well, suffice it to say he’s a menacing wolf. Yet while he devours grandma, you can’t really fault the big hairy guy. He’s just hungry. B.B. Woolfe however doesn’t share the same unthinking animalistic behavior. Our new nemesis is cruel and calculating, lending a new feel to a familiar adversary.

In using a backdrop comprised of traditional fairy tale pictures and forward-thinking notions, Woolfe assumes an old style with a new direction. It’s a neat twist on a classic story, with nods to recognizable literary devices, but a wholly independent nature.

About the Author

Mitchell Long

Mitchell “Moe” Long is a North Carolina writer with a passion for all things pop culture. Besides gaming, Moe enjoys cult classic films, listening to vinyl, and drinking far too much coffee. In addition to Cliqist, Moe writes about music and movies, and is currently composing what he hopes will one day be a novel about the universally awkward period of life known as high school. Feel free to check out and subscribe to his Examiner page as well as connect with him on Twitter.

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