Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries Impressions

We look at Woolfe, a new platformer with a twist on the classic Red Riding Hood fairy tale.

Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries is a platformer that came out March 17th on Steam. Woolfe is a reimagining of the fairy tale story with a dark twist. In the game, Red wields an axe that she uses to fight against the forces of B.B. Woolfe to take vengeance against him for his role in her father’s death.

Woolfe is a 2.5D platformer where the camera is set in a side scrolling view, but the player isn’t locked into only moving left and right as there is still depth to the gameplay environment. There are a couple cases in the game where the camera breaks away from this view, but the awkwardness that presents highlights how well the side view camera works for the game.

The platforming aspect of the game is really well done. While the character does feel a little floaty, the environment and puzzles thereof are really fun and engaging. There are two areas where the environments really excel at this -- the sewers and the forest.

Early in the game the player comes through the sewers environment. The sewers focus majorly on puzzle platforming where players will need to jump past obstacles, discover how to open up the path ahead and avoid various hazards.

While the sewers focus on the puzzle aspect, the forest is all about the pure platforming. Time your jumps to make sure you make it past deadly spike traps and learn the rotation of floating islands as they move across the environment.

While these two areas really excel and make Woolfe enjoyable with a bit of challenge, the rest of the game falls short. Each area has its own focus including stealth, combat and a race against the screen section of the game, where going through the stage too slowly results in death. Each of these areas feel underdeveloped, either lacking in their overall system (such as stealth) or having a clunkiness in their feel and animations (as is the case with combat). Instead of building more areas based off of the great platforming, these areas seemed tacked on to the game to give each area its own special gameplay.

That leads to the other downside of this game. Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries only has around two hours of gameplay. While we do not feel that the short length of playtime is in itself a negative, the shortness of the game combined with some levels using underwhelming gameplay mechanics leads to us wanting more from the areas of the game that did excel.

The story and environments are where this game really shines. The interesting take on the classic fairy tale had us engaged throughout the game and the art style matched well to give a great sense of immersion. The story of the game is told almost exclusively through voice-over of the main character, Red; and while the story is good, the storytelling suffers slightly as the narration never really decides if it wants to be a fairy tale poem or a teenager’s inner monologue. However, what makes the story suffer most is the abrupt ending with a cliffhanger; it makes the rest of the game seem like a red herring to the actual story that will be told in the next installment.

Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries is only the first half of a two episode game, with the second episode due to come out later this year (currently planned for an August release). If you are a fan of fairy tales and re-imaginations of them, then Woolfe is definitely a game to consider. Otherwise, it might be worth holding off on the game to see what the next episode offers later this year.

Matt Adams aka the Mattsta

Follow me on Twitter @MattstaNinja


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