Night in the Woods (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 18.02.2018

Review for Night in the Woods on Nintendo Switch

Night in the Woods is new to Nintendo Switch but it hit other platforms a year ago after a very successful Kickstarter campaign where it rose over 400% of its initial goal. Cubed3 fell in love with the PC release, and now a whole new audience gets the chance to try it out. The story sees Mae, a young anthropomorphic cat, return to her hometown after dropping out of college. Mae's history is waiting for her; a lost childhood, plenty of regrets, and a dark tragedy that no-one will let her forget. It is a story of small towns and of lost childhoods, of reconnecting and growing up...and it shouldn't be overlooked.

Mae's return to town is quite the antithesis of "the prodigal son returns" type story. Mae has dropped out of college and returned home, now a 20-year old who still acts the teenager, this lone daughter returns not to a huge welcome from a loving family and friends, but instead she finds a world that moved on without her and one where her return is hardly a welcome one. The game opens with ominous message with some level of customisation, recounting the final moments of Mae's grandfather. Staring out the window, he gazes at the old remains of one of the main rundown parts of town and mutters "This house is haunted." Then, he dies. It's a story thread returned to later. Jump to present day and Mae has arrived back in the small town of Possum Springs. She's got back on the last train and is waiting for her parents to come and collect her. They forget her. Instead, she is left to make her way home through the woods and ramshackle remains of closed down locations.

Screenshot for Night in the Woods on Nintendo Switch

It's a beginning indicative of what's to come. Mae finds the town she returns to drastically changed. Places she loved are closed; people she loved are changed or gone; the world has moved on and the safe familiarity she hoped to return to is nothing like she hoped, and her reputation has preceded her. She doesn't help matters, as during her very first few days she manages to upset the law, get involved with some grizzly crimes, and manages to thoroughly embarrass herself among old friends and old flames.

At its heart, Night in the Woods is a strange take on the old school adventure games. It's more a story to experience than a game to play and, because of this, it's hard to really appreciate it at first. The writing is heavily hipster (those who collect vinyl despite it being lower quality than digital and drink craft beers based on the names alone will love this - it's this generation's Scott Pilgrim) and the gameplay just feels off at first but it keeps dragging the player back and it's worth coming returning to. There are certain moments, little connections between silly anthropomorphic animals that hit hard and will stay with the player for a long time after. It's not worth spoiling them here and different people will react and associate to different moments, but they will associate. It feels like there's a lot of personal experience and heart been put into this and it makes it something truly memorable.

Screenshot for Night in the Woods on Nintendo Switch

That's not to say there aren't actual 'game' elements here, as Mae can stroll through the town, hopping up onto the power lines and across rooftops to explore, and can interact with the residents. They will often call back to events in Mae's history and Mae's responses are customisable, allowing the player to shape the stories told for some humorous results. There are also a few distractions available to keep those in control entertained between playing through the story, in the form of mini-game style activities. In Mae's room there's a laptop with a game she can play, entitled Demontower, which delivers a simple little rogue-like adventure. There are nine stages to work through and as progress is made, the character controlled grows weaker, moving slower and with less health, giving a decent challenge and proving to be a pleasing addition. There's also a little Guitar Hero-style affair with a handful of songs, which is considerably less fun. A constant reminder of why these rhythm games work best with their instruments.

Screenshot for Night in the Woods on Nintendo Switch

On top of the original game, this version includes some extra content. First up is the "Weird Autumn" update, which was available as a free content patch to purchasers of the base game on other consoles. This is something of a "Director's Cut" of the original story, adding in some new NPCs and some new side-stories that seamlessly fit into the tale for the definitive version of this tale. There are also some extra little bits of content in "Longest Night" and "Lost Constellation." Longest Night gives the cast some time under the stars, chatting about the different constellations Mae can discover atop the rooftops of the town; it's more of the same, really, but a nice little addition. Lost Constellation is great. It's a playable fable, a story being told to Mae by her Father, which sees a little bespectacled, snowball-tossing Crocodile trek across a magical snow-covered land.

Screenshot for Night in the Woods on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

When beginning Night in the Woods, the game feels like it is nothing special, but this is the type of experience that requires and deserves a little perseverance. The main story pales in comparison to the real strength, and that's the characters and their interactions. It's these that people will remember. Night in the Woods is a beautiful, heartfelt and memorable experience and it looks good, too. The presentation has transitioned perfectly to Nintendo Switch. The strange cartoony art style runs in a constant 60fps in docked mode with full 1080p, which in portable mode it keeps the fps smooth at 60 but drops the graphical fidelity to a solid 720p. This is an adventure game the likes of which is rarely seen anymore and is completely unlike anything else on Switch.


Infinite Fall




Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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