[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]oolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is a 3D (or 2.5d, as GRIN likes to bill it) side scrolling platformer that was funded back in September 2014 for $72,139 on Kickstarter. It’s a dark reimagining of the Little Red Riding Hood story, with a host of other storytime characters as well (such as the Pied Piper.) I’m just going to start this review off by saying I’m fairly biased against such works. They need to have really strong writing for me to accept them, like Telltale Games’ A Wolf Among Us. Does GRIN pull it off?
I’m going to argue that they did, not because I think the writing is stellar (I think it’s passable) but because the setting is inviting, and the gameplay is fun. The constant attempts at rhyming won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and I was surprised at how often Red speaks during normal gameplay. It can be a bit exhausting, but I will say that the voice acting is of fairly good quality. In some instances Red’s rhyming dialogue feels forced, while other times it flows more naturally. Red is a sympathetic protagonist, but this game isn’t deep by any means, and the plot is fairly typical: protagonist wants revenge against a corrupt figure of authority for crimes against their family, yadda, yadda, yadda…
I don’t think the writing is the major selling point for Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. I think the selling points are the gameplay and graphics. For a crowdfunded game, Woolfe looks gorgeous. Character designs are also fairly well done, managing to be both appealing and memorable. The cinematic direction of some of the cutscenes are extremely effective. The platforming in Woolfe is also challenging, with some simple puzzles thrown in. To say this is a “skill” based game like Super Meat Boy would be stretching it, though.
Another thing to note: What’s being released now is the first volume of what is a two part story. The second volume is set to be released in August 2015. Hopefully by that time, the game will have been mostly ironed out by then. GRIN’s Woolfe Team is dedicated to wiping out issues with their title, and the community has been very supportive in bug reporting, but I do feel I have to mention, in case these are not taken care of after launch, that I had some issues playing the game. So close to release, it definitely still had an Early Access feel to it, with some cutscenes awkwardly staged, choppy animations, and of course, managing to crash my beastly computer numerous times. While I’m sure Woolfe Team will strive to eradicate all of these issues, I think it’s worth noting to early buyers that Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries may not be perfect as of yet. Worth $9.99? I’d say yes, given the fun gameplay and beautiful graphics. If you want most or all the bugs gone, however, you might want to wait a bit more, and keep on eye on those changelogs!