“Night in the Woods: Longest Night” Review
Having hacked together a drawing from the teenaged Singaporean who drew Judy Hopps in a gimp suit, I can honestly say I’m too clever for my own good. I like Mae. I don’t like Night in the Woods, but only because I can’t afford it, Wine has failed me, and I don’t like games I can’t play. What I do like is that, when I said that NITW is “showing dangerous signs of actually mattering,” I was right. Zero Punctuation did an episode on it. I saw it, nodded my head, and said to myself: “That… that’s the thunderclap right there.”
Once more: change occurs in raindrops over time, but it doesn’t attract attention. It’s the job of the thunderclap to make people notice what it’s been doing for years. When the omnipotent Yahtzee recommended NITW, it was viewed by 30,000 people. Now it’s on YouTube with 300,000. Those are more views than I’ve earned in my entire career. Furthermore, people listen to Yahtzee. Why are you here?
Right, my review of “Night in the Woods: Longest Night”, which is twenty minutes long. I’m noticing a pattern here. But listen: I don’t know what this game is. Nobody’s spoiled it for me, except for everyone being gay. But, like with Kitty Bobo, I want more of it, not because I was completely and utterly blown away, but because it’s atmosphere is velvet smooth and glassware chill.
Supposedly the developers used this game to learn how to make things. Given the 30 frames – per – second and 120MB filesize, I believe it. It would be nice if the developers showed us what they learned, releasing the source code, giving it a free Licence, treating fans as fans instead of criminals. But, no. You see, I want more of this, but I don’t want more of the developers. They’ve put their work under copyright, and assume that I am a thief in doing so. They assumed right. I won’t even play it if I can’t get it off The Pirate Bay.
The shortest night
You sit around a campfire with your three furry friends (well, two furries and one scalie) and talk about what the constellations above mean. You have to connect the dots, and that’s all the gameplay. Granted, it’s one of the more intuitive connect – the – dots sequences. Unless you’re deaf, where the sound cues are worthless to you. Once you connect enough dots, the characters tell you what they all mean, and because this is a furry game everything will have to do with animals. Are the devs furries? Doesn’t matter — it’s a furry game.
When you connect all the dots, you wake up. I hazard it’s one of Mae’s most pleasant dreams, as she met childhood friends who are now barely adults. Being a fan of a good dream and good friends, having much more dreams than friends and preferring the reliability of the former, I admire what this game sets out to do. It doesn’t tell much of a story. Rather, it tells several smaller stories leading up to a bigger one, whose surface we have but scratched, whose tip remains on the iceberg, and whose skin is firmly unpeeled. It’s not pretentious. It’s actually a little alienating. Is this too good to be true? Can there really be games made like this nowadays, where writing is the star? Maybe I shouldn’t have played this at midnight. You gotta admit it’s fitting, though.
There are two types of people who could make this game what it is: a lead writer who just got tenure and is trying to piss off their boss with something unmarketable, or a four – man (and one woman; the art has the softness of a woman) team who are writing for themselves. Both are equally unlikely. For the former, this game was released in 2015, where angst and calm go hand – in – hand (and how Undertale made its fortune). For the latter, this would imply they would all be liberals. I don’t think liberals would use copyright.
Why copyright? This is supposed to be an indie game. A game which only the indies could make, a cultural protest against the whims of big business and the marketplace dictating what can and cannot be made, where anything that can be made, will be made. Copyright is a tool of censorship; a company doesn’t like what you’re saying and so censors you with a legal notice. Any game that has copyright doesn’t deserve to be bought — that’s my cultural protest. For Finji to use this corporate tool goes against the art they create. I’m ashamed of them. I cannot support them. Twenty dollars is too much for oppression.
Of course, sharers don’t care, and I respect them for that. I’d share this game, but I don’t want to be censored by Finji. You can also get it off the little download link above… or here. You see, while this game, using “game” in a loose sense of the word, made me interested, it didn’t make me so interested that I feel like a great hole in my heart would never be filled. Kitty Bobo left a hole. It’s also under copyright, but I’m a sharer, so I don’t care. If you got eight minutes, watch the Kitty Bobo pilot. You’ll see what NITW is trying to do.
The writing is good. I’d say you could find good writing everywhere, but I have been proven wrong. The big reason Bill Watterson never made Calvin and Hobbes into a cartoon is because he couldn’t imagine taking away the voices that the audience has invented for them. The developers were smart not to fall into the same trap that so many others did. Unless you have great voice talent — and trust me indie devs, you don’t — the rule is to stick with text boxes. I like the writing in New Vegas, but in that B – movie way. In what other way could I like it? The voice acting is awful. This game has none. I like that.
I twisted and turned whether to give this game three stars or four. It does what it sets out to do: give a teaser into what The Big Game is going to do. Well, it teased, and it poked, and it prodded, and eventually made me relent and want to know what The Big Game is going to do. But banking on a game’s potential is something I don’t do. I judge it as it is, and I believe it to be three stars worth of entertainment. For complaints, e – mail me, so I can ignore you.
I would have liked to give it a billion stars, because it is beautiful in that billion star way. Well, maybe a million. Or just one. No, that’s not fair… three stars? That’s three times as many. Oh, what does it matter? You could do worse.