At the end of everything, hold onto anything. To say the world of Night in the Woods is shrouded in mystery would be an understatement. It is filled with wonder, coming of age rebellion, and promises even death cannot break.
We haven’t really talked about Night in the Woods for quite a while here at Cliqist and it’s about time for an update. For those who don’t know, Night in the Woods is a story-driven exploration indie game being developed by Infinite Fall and Finji’s Alec Holowka and Scott Benson and several collaborators.
In November 2013, NITW was completely funded within twenty six hours and at the end of the campaign altogether, 400% of the goal ($209,375) was raised. At the beginning of this year the developers released a supplemental (Longest Night). In this supplemental players solve puzzles to complete all the constellations in the sky above the animal anthropomorphic characters, a group of childhood friends.
Since then, the developers have been working hard to finish up Night in the Woods, which now has a 2015ish release date in mind. As a wonderful way to finish off the year, Finji released a second supplemental, this time with much more gameplay, to the public called Lost Constellation, which is available for free download with the option to donate.
Night in the Woods is in fact one of my most anticipated crowdfunded games generally and was jumping with joy upon reading this news. As any fan would, I downloaded it and started playing immediately.
The entire setting for Lost Constellation differs from Longest Night in the overall tone and style of gameplay. This time around, the supplemental is more interactive, allowing players to manipulate a character all across a plan and interact with objects and characters along the way. It feels like we’re taken directly into the universe of NITW already and it’s nothing short of exciting.
In Lost Constellation, Mae’s father is telling her a story about the Lost Constellation and Adina the astronomer’s journey through the forest to the frozen lake to find a specific star and fulfill a promise to a friend long gone. When beginning the supplemental, Adina has just reached the forest and needs to make it to the lake. But there’s something mystical and strange about this forest as she soon discovers.
Adina finds herself in quite the pickle, having to prove herself to the forest god, deal with terrifying witch rats and grumpy coffin salesman, and reviving the many lonely wandering spirits in the forest into snowmen; all to make it to the frozen lake to reunite with her astronomer friend in spirit form and find the lost constellation in the sky.
The gameplay for Lost Constellation is actually quite linear but giving the impression otherwise. The player is warned very early on of the mysterious nature of the woods, how they are constantly moving by some horrible magical force and once you enter, you’re doomed to never leave. As Adina walks around the forest, speaking to various characters and learning of the forest’s past it appears that Adina gets stuck in a big circle, going to the same locations repeatedly. Luckily, just by continuing in the right (literally) direction, all the objects the player needs to interact with next or the characters next to converse with show up eventually. By continuing on that path, the game naturally unfolds a sad tale about the forest and the many magical critters lurking inside or once did.
Additionally, Finji implemented a fun snowman building feature that adds an extra touch of interactivity and player control in Lost Constellation. As Adina explores the forest, she will collect various objects like beer bottles, Ouija board pieces, and a trumpet. Also, she can collect snowballs which come in handy to knocking massive piles of snow off of the branches above. Snowballs fall and Adina rolls them to appropriate size to make a snowman. Once all three snowman body sections are put together, players can customize the snowman, putting whatever vegetables, bones, and miscellaneous objects they want as long as it includes one of the personal items Adina discovered in the forest. When completed the spirit connected to that personal item manifests in that snowman and either assists Adina will her goal out of the forest or suffer from an existential crisis.
All around, it’s fun, amusing, and dozens of people have been posting their snowman designs all over Twitter. Plus, why not add a little bit of dark humor?
The journey through Lost Constellation is actually a little bit time consuming and completely invests the player emotionally. The world of NITW is more tangible after playing Lost Constellation and if this is a taste of what is to come, I’m over the moon about Night in the Wood’s future.
For those interested in our previous coverage, we’ve talked about NITW’s presence at E3 back in June and even previewed the first supplemental release “Longest Night.” Though the campaign for NITW is long over, you can check out their website and pre-order NITW by Paypal and Amazon or donate when downloading Lost Constellation.