Night in The Woods

A witty smalltown adventure with light puzzle-platforming elements that walks the line between nostalgia and nihilism.

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Mario is a simple guy. He wears overalls and a spiffy cap. He's got a brother and a couple of close friends. He can run fast and jump high. In his various quests to save princess Peach, he makes use of all of these attributes and relationships, yet none of them tell us anything about who Mario really is.

Night in the Woods is getting a free Director's Cut update in December

Night in the Woods is getting a free Director's Cut update in December

Coming to Xbox One and "another console" too.

Developer Infinite Fall's celebrated narrative adventure Night in the Woods - a game of cute animals and crippling existential dread - is getting a "director's cut" on December 13th.

Known as the Weird Autumn Edition, the new version features (in the words of its creators) "a whole bunch of new content". The announcement trailer is marginally more illuminating, revealing that it will feature "new weird, new crimes, and old tales". Weird Autumn will be made available as a free update for existing PC and PS4 players on release day.

December 13th also marks Night in the Woods' Xbox One debut, where it will arrive in its new Weird Autumn guise. As a bonus, Xbox One and PC players will receive Longest Night and Lost Constellation, the two previously released supplemental games, on launch day. PS4 players, meanwhile, will get them a smidgeon later, in January 2018.

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Night in the Woods review

Video games have cast me as a dapper hitman, an alien garbage collector, a chinless vampire and countless other roles, but this is the first time I've been asked to play a mess. Infinite Fall's bleak yet sparkling interactive novel is the tale of Mae Borowski, a feline college drop-out in an allegorical America populated by talking animals, who is crashing with her parents for the winter. The fact that she's a cat who plays bass aside, Mae's most distinctive quality as a protagonist is that she's a total liability - lazy, needy and far younger than her twenty years suggest, with a miraculous knack for saying the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

Rather than imposing her will on the world - in keeping with the worn-out view that escapism in a game means being irresistibly powerful - she bumbles through it, sloping off downtown each day at sundown to clamber up buildings, shoplift and hang out with her best buds after they finish work. This adolescent routine persists throughout the game's six hour length, even following a twist that takes the story into suspenseful whodunnit territory - crawl out of bed, hit the high street, bound over fences, steal pretzels, pester exhausted friends for attention.

Between trips into town you can also chat with your buddies over social media, and maybe polish off a level or two of Demontower, a delightfully grungy 8-bit dungeon-crawler hidden away on Mae's laptop. The plot does throw up its share of excitement eventually - a macabre discovery outside a diner, a giddy chase, a trip to a museum at night - but excitement is not why Mae has returned to the town of Possum Springs. She's basically here to waste time.

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Night In The Woods release date set for January

Cartoonish coming-of-age tale Night In The Woods is due on 10th January for PS4, PC, Mac and Linux, publisher Finji has announced.

The story of 20-year-old college dropout and depressed youth Mae the cat has been in the works for three years as it's the solitary effort of three people: Alec Holowka, Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry.

The game will be a narrative-driven experience about Mae moseying through life in her increasingly unfamiliar hometown of Possum Springs where the times, they are a-changin'. Throughout the game you'll have to choose how to spend your time, who to talk to, and what to say.

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Games, as a medium, allow us to experience things we don't get to in our everyday lives. Often these are empowering fantasies like saving the world and fighting monsters. Sometimes they're more abstract adventures like trotting through majestic, magical landscapes as in Journey. And occasionally these are dis-empowering satirical situations as we saw in games like Papers, Please or The Stanley Parable. While the medium excels at showing us a life we'll never lead, indie developers Alexander Holowka and Scott Benson's upcoming adventure, Night in the Woods, reflects a slice of life most of us have led: that of a wayward 20 year old.