Woven (PC) Preview

By Tomas Barry 09.08.2017 2

Review for Woven on PC

In development by Alterego Games and Digital Forest, Woven is described as a 'puzzle adventure,' which sees the player take control of a stuffed elephant appropriately named Stuffy, plus his amnesia-struck robot firefly, Glitch, as they navigate a colourful fabric-ridden world, overcoming challenges and piecing together the mystery along the way. It borrows elements from Kirby's Epic Yarn and Unravel, but also strikes up its own style, with point and click controls, a narrator that regularly speaks in rhyme during gameplay, and last but not least, Glitch's special ability to reknit Stuffy's features using blueprints from collected creatures. Although it's only in pre-alpha stage, with such unique mechanics and a cuddly look, Cubed3 gives in to the itch to examine the stitching.

Jumping into Woven for the first time, one is struck by its colourful aesthetic and fairy tale feel. Although pre-alpha suggests that the project is still in the early days, there's a significant degree of polish already present in this point and click adventure. The soft and soothing voice of the narrator, who interjects regularly, often to provide context and help for the player, creates an interesting tone and atmosphere, especially in conjunction with the crisp visuals and very pleasant ambient music. Although it takes a little time to grasp the part-swapping mechanics, the player will quickly cotton onto the fact that stitching parts with different abilities is a key element of the game, and moreover, opens up new parts of the surprisingly large map. Therefore, while it may start off seeming safe and simple, it will quickly dawn that there's more to this adventure than meets the eye.

Screenshot for Woven on PC

In some ways, it's a little like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, because its main quirks are somewhat unusual and perhaps not immediately obvious to someone jumping into the world. Just like that title, in its fully realised form, Woven certainly could develop a similar cult audience. It seems like the sort of project that will capture the imagination of open-minded gamers, as well as those looking for something that engages in storytelling in an unusual and creative way.

If the core gameplay component, the swapping of different creature parts to gain abilities, continues to be developed and kept interesting across the breadth of the game, the experience could be quite unlike anything else around. It's a good sign that many of the puzzles can be solved with different combinations of creature abilities, since multiple paths help the player to feel genuinely inventive when they find a way to progress. At other times, Glitch may have to customize Stuffy for superficial reasons, such as when they encounter a stylish Snake blocking their way - one who will only co-operate with those sticking to his dress code.

Screenshot for Woven on PC

Final Thoughts

The problem with Woven at this stage is that it doesn't amount to anything more than a prototype, despite its highly polished visual sheen and audio flair. While there is a fairly large world to access in this pre-alpha, with a good amount of collectables to track down, the actual story, which the team professes to be so central, seems to be very underdeveloped, and the universe itself suffers as a result. In addition, the ending of the demo experience, not to spoil anything, is far too abrupt, and is surely a placeholder closing. While it is gratifying to solve a puzzle, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of real gameplay reward. When that's coupled with a lack of liveliness and real narrative, as well as the huge areas still feeling quite barren because they lack NCPs, there's a sense that Woven is a project with great core ideas, but significant voids to address. Hopefully, though, we haven't seen the last of this intriguing project!

Developer

Alterego Games

Publisher

Digital Forest

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

what an utterly nightmarish looking game

I'm wondering if the build you tried was pretty much the same one I tested last year.

Looks like the funding was unsuccessful, but the team hopes to chip away at this when there's time/money:

​https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1355836783/woven-solve-puzzles-by-reknitting-your-character/posts/1907789

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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