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Thread: Night in the Woods

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland

    Night in the Woods


    I've recently been playing Night in the Woods, in parallel with much bigger, more epic, more triple-A games - yet it's probably my favourite recent game. The style, atmosphere, the visuals, music and writing, it's all right up my alley (and no, that's no cat-related pun). Like so many story-heavy indie games, it's perhaps not much of a game if you're looking for challenge and failstates; it's much closer to something like Oxenfree (the ghost story atmosphere and young adult protagonists), with a touch of Kentucky Route Zero (especially the themes of economic hardship and nostalgia for a past that may never have existed) and the sensitivity of comics like Ghost World (main character Mae would get along well with GW's Enid Coleslaw).

    I'm not quite done with it yet, and I expect to replay it before long, as some of the choices you make result in you missing out on certain scenes (you often pick which one of your friends you spend time with). There's a bit of a shift towards the end that I'll still have to think about; it does make sense thematically, though it still feels quite abrupt - but I haven't yet formed an opinion on it, since I still have to finish the game.

    In any case, I was curious if anyone else has been playing this one. If so, what do/did you think? Who's your favourite character? (I'm torn between Bea and Angus myself.) And, more importantly, do you also suck as much at playing the bass as my Mae does?

  2. #2
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I have yet to be complimented by Bea on my bass playing skills, because I usually begin songs like Pete Townshend ends them - windmilling, screaming, and smashing shit up.

    The rest are good sports about it though.

    Anyway, I think I really like Gregg. Bea's gradual thawing over Mae's complete cluelessness makes me really like her, but Gregg's immediately the sort of person I'd want to go out and do retarded things with. (He's gonna regret those knife jabs though.) Overall, it's a great experience, with lovely aesthetics and really nicely written conversations. It's entertaining yet feels very solidly realised. Renz mentioned a while ago that it has exactly the sort of small-town ambience and issues he's used to finding in the US, which means it's pretty a good observation on that sort of thing.

    I've yet to get to anywhere near the end, but on the strength of what I've experienced so far, anyone who backed this on KS back in the day should feel very happy about making that choice.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    The game also makes me want to replay the supplementary Lost Constellation, which I really liked at the time. Is Longest Night also worth playing after the other two?

  4. #4
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Yeah, I haven't played it in a while, but I do really, really like it. Again, I'm a Gregg guy myself, and for the same reasons as Sulphur. While you know you may end up being embarrassed about what you did with him, and it might get you into serious trouble, what you actually do together really captures that post-teen ennui you feel in your early twenties when you're supposed to be a "responsible adult".
    Plus, dat bike ride.

    I did go with Bea to help the forgetful old lady and smashed up her boiler. That was fun. But she don't have those awesome wiggly arms when she's excited.

    That and Gregg's relationship with Angus is very touching.

    And yeah, I suck at the Guitar Hero bits too, but then I never played Guitar Hero other than that one time at a company Christmas do.
    I suspect I may find it easier if I play those bits on keyboard rather than controller, but I reckon that being crap at it is more in the spirit of things.

    Gonna have to go back to it soon I reckon. It's a lovely place to be.

    Edit: Oh, and I really regret not backing it at the tier which would have got me a plush Mae.


  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Oh man, that would've been great. I love that plush Mae, though I'd absolutely take a plush Bea, Angus or Greg as well.
    And yeah, I suck at the Guitar Hero bits too, but then I never played Guitar Hero other than that one time at a company Christmas do.
    I suspect I may find it easier if I play those bits on keyboard rather than controller, but I reckon that being crap at it is more in the spirit of things.
    Yeah, I think so too. It's the Y button that throws me most, since the four buttons aren't organised in a row; I think when you play with the keyboard, you use 1-4, which would make it easier. But Mae shouldn't be a Bass Hero. She needs to suck at this, at least a bit.

  6. #6
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.

    Played it, finished it, loved it. It's not perfect, and some stuff at the end feels a bit rushed, plus the whole Old One at the bottom of the mine demanding sacrifice to make the town survive and many of the townsfolk providing unwilling sacrifices was somewhat left field. Tbh, I found it interesting, but I wouldn't have minded juuuuust a bit more digging into it. Plus the ending seems to just...end. Which, I guess, fits, but after the previous buildup it left me a bit wanting. Still, I really enjoyed the story and the characters' relations and problems. Some really strong and brutal heart-wrenching moments. As for my choice, I went Bea all the way.

    Also part of the Mae Sux At Bass Club, wooooo!

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by MrDuck View Post
    As for my choice, I went Bea all the way.
    Crocopunk fistbump.


    Edit: Also, one of the things I really like about this is how they successfully blend irony, sarcasm and still a sincerity that feels real.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I've just been reminded of the great soundtrack they had for Night in the Woods:Lost Constellation:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-DWruAtPEs

    (I tried to embed the video but it didn't work.)

    Also, I might be developing a slight obsession with "Die Anywhere Else", the song they play at band practice.

  9. #9
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Unfortunately, the OST doesn't have the ratchety bass line in the mix. But elsewhere on the intertubes, someone did a very decent job of dubbing vox onto a playthrough:


  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    In general, what did people think of the last part and the ending? It's clearly the game's riskiest choice, and I understand if some people come away thinking that it doesn't fit, but for me it worked pretty well, and the very last scene, while painful - I didn't want to leave those characters behind - struck me as perfect for the story it was telling.

  11. #11
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.

    For me it was less about not fitting and more about feeling that it wasn't developed enough, and felt a bit tacked on, to some degree, but not too much. Though it did open up a venue for many interesting questions. Again, see my previous post where I sum up my thoughts on the last act and ending. All in all, I really enjoyed it. <3

    Also, eeeeeeeeeeeeeellllsssss!

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I have been playing this over the last couple of weeks, I really love the concept, but it does fall down in certain areas. The mini games feel very forced, and I would rather not have to do them, loading times are terrible and there should have been some kind of fast travel system rather than having to traipse back and forth which kinda becomes grating after a while. I am still not sure about the ending.
    All in all though great game trying to do something a bit different, and love to see more games like this, its not an adventure game, its not IF, its not a platformer but has elements of all these, plus the art style and animation are excellent. Glad I bought it, well worth.
    also +1 for mashing keys and hoping for the best during band practice
    oh yeh my fave person was actually selmers
    Last edited by PigLick; 12th May 2017 at 12:25.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I love the moment with Selmers at the library. So surprising and lovely!

  14. #14
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Just finished this. Don't have any deep analysis or anything I just wanted to say that I loved it. It's funny and it's got a lot of heart.

    I did played Lost Constellation a while back but never The Longest Night, downloading that now.

  15. #15
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I finished the game some time back (it only took more than a year!), but I really didn't know what to say about it. It's still charming, hilarious, full of lovely little asides (like Selmers!), and has real heart in its characters. I actually ended up liking Bea a lot; she easily has the most depth of the bunch despite being cold and stand-offish at the outset. The conversations are great. The humour is great. It's a great experience!

    But that ending.

    What to make of it? What does anyone make of it? Sure, I get that a lot of people would find the way it wrapped up disappointing. But I didn't get that particular feeling from this tale - it just felt like the natural endpoint for where the story was going. Mae starts the game as an overgrown self-centred child, and ends it as someone a little more aware of everyone else's lives, someone inching towards adulthood and what that really means. It's the best way to end, not with a full stop, but an ellipsis.

    And yet there's something more to it. I want to say the existential underpinnings of what Mae's going through is reflected in the entire town - it's pretty on the surface, but it's old and decrepit beneath. Mae finds the old duck float she remembers from parades when she was a kid, and it's stuffed in the back of an old building along with parade detritus, collecting dust and forgotten, and yet in its innards there's a clutch of starving rats. Now, the game immediately lets Mae become a rat mother who steals pretzels until they're strong enough to get by on their own, which is of course super cute. But as we've seen, the game's real trick is hiding its messages behind its humour and antic. The metaphor with the rats in the belly of the float is still pretty apparent: even this town's past is slowly rotting away.

    The back half of the game is what sticks with me the most, more than shoplifting antics with Bea, and bike rides with Gregg (though those are wonderful by any metric), and for the longest time I've been unable to articulate why, exactly. The qualities of Mae's dreams, the story of her psychotic break, and the feel of the town harbouring some awful and nameless horror begin to coalesce into a feeling of reality slowly eroding, flaking rust from its bones like they were made of rebar. And maybe that's my imagination, but it feels like the game's embracing that all things come to an end, however ungracefully, and that yawning chasm of nothingness is always waiting for the living to acknowledge it - be it by a superstitious populace that form a cult to keep it at bay, or the next generation that inherits that baggage, and sees the chasm as nothing but a mirror.


    Yet there's more to it. It takes a replay, I think. This review (very well-written and thoughtfully) confirms as much. There's a bristling anger beneath the surface that I couldn't place, but the review calls it out for what it is: rage at the damage a capitalist economy can wreak to a neighbourhood and its people. That's the crumbling, skeletal background that I mentally glossed over whilst playing the game, but in hindsight, it's pretty obvious that the game's portraying a specific moment in time with that fraying and weakening network of people trying to do right by themselves and their families, but failing in the face of corporations and companies. And that's pretty damn bleak, because you know how that sort of story usually ends.

    So I wouldn't call that ending disappointing. An ellipsis, and not a full stop, is the most hopeful way it could have gone.

    Retroactively, then, I'm gonna have to call it: this really was one of the best games of 2017. (And it released one day after my birthday, which officially makes Mae one of my spirit animals. <3)

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Nice write-up, thanks for posting it! I think my favourite scene in all of Night in the Woods is the dinner at Bea's and the conversation in her room afterwards. It's pretty painful to get through, but the two characters are so well written and feel so real. Actually, I tell a half-life: it's this scene as well as Mae's argument with her mother that I love most.

    Did you play the supplemental materials, Sulphur? There's some really good stuff in Lost Constellation and one visual towards the end that absolutely broke my heart. Also, the title tune is downright perfect.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    How do you play the extra content, do you have to start a new playthrough?

  18. #18
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    With time and distance, I gotta pretty much agree with Sulph's latest.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    @PigLick
    It's separate and should be part of the Weird Autumn edition (I think that all versions are updated to this), though I can't remember exactly how to access it. Is there a menu option called "Extras"?

  20. #20
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    You can get the 2 supplemental games here.

    As it happens, I finally played Longest Night last night, after reading Sulph's excellent write-up. Gameplaywise it's very light, but it's totally worth it for more of those wonderful characters.

  21. #21
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Thanks, guys.

    @Thirth: I played Longest Night, which as henke notes is pretty light but has a good helping of the game's trademark banter. I'm in the middle of Lost Constellation, actually, and should be getting back to it soon because I want to see where it goes with its story device. That title theme is lovely, and reminds me a little of Aquaria's OST (also by Holowka, in case you haven't heard it yet). Aquaria's comparatively a bit twee in its composition, though, which might not be to everyone's taste.

    Oh, and to confirm your point - Longest Night and Lost Constellation should indeed be accessible through the Extras option in the in-game menu.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 13th Jul 2018 at 16:02.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    You guys are convincing me pretty hard that I should pick this up for Switch, as soon as I get an SD card.

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