I am a terrible person. RetroEpic’s very clever and very good looking A Day in the Woods has been out since October 2011 and yet I’ve only just discovered it. If there are indie gods out there then I will accept a smiting with open arms – I deserve it.
A Day in the Woods is another local indie game that has already garnered international attention. The puzzle game has a charming, wooden toy aesthetic and each level plays out on increasingly larger boards made up of moveable hexagons.
You take on the role of a little sprite that has to guide Red Riding Hood through the forest to her grandma’s house. You do this by swapping places with whichever tile is in contact with your sprite. Certain tile pieces with objects like rocks and trees cannot be moved, which is where the fundamental “puzzle” side of things comes in.
Each level has a house that Red needs to reach. Along the way you might need to manipulate tile layouts in order to help Red collect berries or flowers; because grandma is totally down with those sorts of collectibles. There are also items to collect that will help you unlock different sprite customisation options or different seasons for the numerous levels. The season customisation is aesthetic, but it’s nice to be able to switch between spring or winter forest boards.
The game starts out relatively easy, but it’s one of those puzzle games that lulls you into a false sense of security. After you’ve completed the first couple of levels, the game starts throwing some curveballs like adding bears and wolves to the forests. The actual boards also become rather massive, and completionists who want to try and beat each level’s par requirements (in terms of how many moves you take to complete the board) will be kept occupied for a long time.
I spent a good amount of time playing the game on the Learn3D.co.za and MakeGamesSA indie stand, and I can say that it’s the kind of game I can see myself picking up. One thing worth mentioning is how many young children were utterly transfixed by the game. You can walk past the machine running A Day in the Woods and invariably you’ll find a crowd of children huddled around it. It’s charming – there’s no doubt about that.
A Day in the Woods is available on PC and Mac. You can pick up a copy through Gamer’s Gate for just less than R50. Puzzle game fans will definitely want to check it out.