A Game About Dropping Out Of College. Also, You're A Cat.

Here's a premise for a game you don't see every day—perhaps one that hits too close to home for some. But that's exactly what makes it so interesting.


Night In The Woods is the latest project by by Alec Holowka, the man behind Aquaria and the more recent Towerfall. Here's the premise: Mae the cat drops out of college and returns home, a crumbling mining town. Except everything back home is different, and the people she used to be close with have all grown apart. It's a familiar story for some, but the catch here isn't just that this stars a cat named Mae, but also that it sounds like the game will feature a ton of mystery and intrigue.

From the game's description over at Kickstarter:

Mae herself is undergoing some sudden and unexplained changes, giving her mysterious abilities that grant her access to a side of town she never knew existed. The world is changing, things are ending, and the future is uncertain. Up behind the park at the edge of town, back in the trees by the old mine- there's something in the woods. And it could mean no future at all.

Sounds kind of bleak, and yet there's a certain charm to it all—mostly, it's the combination of presentation (Scott Benson, the animator/co-developer on the project, does a swell job with the visuals) and the fact that everyone is an animal (which helps diffuse the bleakness a bit). You can see for yourself in the game's pitch video:

Hell, it almost doesn't even look like a game, right? Kind of looks like a cartoon or something, but no, it's a game. You can expect to do stuff like exploring a town, doing extracurricular activities, talking to your friends, running, jumping, gaining abilities, and discovering secret passages. Oh, and you can play bass.


And also, you can smash some things with your baseball bat. You know, typical stuff. It doesn't seem like the game falls under a specific genre, but that's okay.

Why would you want to play a game where you drop out of college and move in back home? Well, I don't know man. I'm not sure wanting to play a game where, say, you get to shoot someone in the face is any more logical than wanting to play something like this, but I will say that because Night In The Woods seems uncomfortable/dark and unique in some ways is exactly the reason that it seems worthwhile. I'm certainly intrigued,at least.


Holowka and Benson hope to raise $50,000 to make the game, which you can support here.



I wrote this comment on their kickstarter page as well but, besides the fact that the animation perfectly merges with the mechanics to make it seem like a non-QTE playable cut scene and great atmospheric music, I also give them props for not conforming to the typical gender identification traits that game developers tend to give women characters in order to distinguish their gender. Mae doesn't have a bow, she doesn't have big breast, she isn't wearing a skirt. Honestly I just assumed it was a guy which is bad on my part and in no way a flaw of character design.

There is not a single thing about her character that should have made me assume she was a man but I did anyway. Granted there's nothing there to make me assume she is a women either but the point is just because you cant distinguish her gender just by looking at her is in no way a design flaw. I'd almost go as far as to say it's an achievement or at least an eye opening design choice.