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Road Not Taken | ChristmasMelon

Road Not Taken

13570592673_97c27d5c0b_o
6 Overall Score
Design: 9/10
Difficulty: 8/10
Encourage Parenting: 1/10

Charming Design

Very Difficult At Times

all paths lead to poor parenting


Game Info

GAME NAME: Road Not Taken

DEVELOPER(S): Spry Fox

PUBLISHER(S): Spry Fox

PLATFORM(S): PC/Mac, Playstation 4 and Vita coming soon!

Be prepared to be more frustrated than trying to retrieve a picnic basket back from Yogi and more confused than the yellow rangers gender confusion when she suits up. In Spry Fox’s game you take on the role of the town’s ranger.  Your job sounds simple enough ‘save the children, every winter, that have become lost in the forest, returning them back to their mothers.’  You start your journey on a boat with a fisherman.  This fisherman knows all to well what devilish tasks lie ahead shown by his remark where he hopes you’re better than the previous ranger.  It’s one that you won’t forget too quickly as he kindly reminds you how crap you are when you die and have to start back from year 1. There’s 15 years in total  but luckily dotted around on some of the maps are shines which you can offer a sacrifice to.  These consist of coins, rice, berries or rabbits.  Sadly you can’t sacrifice the children, though you do begin to wonder if they’ll indeed be missed seeing as every year their mothers let them wander off into these dangerous woods, clearly not learning from previous years mistakes.  Who knows perhaps the children are trying to escape to find better, caring parents. But enough about the poor parenting and onto the game itself. So as I mentioned before the aim of the game is to return these kids to their mothers.  There’s a couple of ways to do this (all of which involves throwing children around). You can either throw them towards an adult nearby or throw them into the starting area of the forest where the major stands waiting for your triumphant return (or for you to give up) The number of children that need rescuing, like the levels can be different each time as they randomly generate so you can have as few as 4 children to save up to about 6.  However the minimum you have to save is half of what is asked.  The major will allow less than half but only once.  This he’ll then refer to as ‘The bad year’.  Now this could of been made harder by making you pair up the child with it’s correct parent but thankfully any parent will do (I’m sure they won’t wonder why their little Jimmy goes by the name Susan). The difficulty comes in the form of movement and objects that occupy the map.  Most items can be picked up and carried but doing so can have an effect on your health.  The cold weather will penalise you for every step you take whilst carrying an item.  In some areas of the map the weather is so bad your health will deplete by just walking.  This means throwing objects is a far better way of conserving your health whir trying to achieve your goal. A warm area however will allow you to carry items without affecting your health. Objects come in the form of a variety of animals, spirits , plant life among other things.   These objects then form a pairing game  where by putting objects next to each other will open up previously blocked paths, allowing you to venture further, or create new items, for example 3 red spirits will create an axe, throw the axe at a tree and it will create a log, throw two logs together and you’ll make a fire, the fire will then reverse weather conditions slightly allowing you to make it possible to carry items with no penalty, also throwing a raccoon into the fire will create a stew to give you health.

One thing to note regarding your health is that when it drop to 10 any orange and white spirits that occupy the map become dark spirits.  These once static spectres will begin to move one step closer to you with each step you take and will mimic your movement  making navigating a bit tricky.  You do though however have the ability to teleport at any time back to the major which also comes handy if your throwing skills have caused you to become stuck.

Back in the town you can talk to the residents and another mini game unfolds.  Here you can share  coins, rice, berries and rabbits with them to improve your friendship with them.  By doing so they will reward you with items and information about objects in the forest.  These rewards can be increasing the health gains from food to reducing the difficulty level. Also in the town resides your home in which you can store charms that the villagers give you that can be equipped to benefit your quest as well as certain objects you find in the forest that you can ban which by doing so effectively cancels them from appearing on the map. The overall design has been executed well and spry fox have done a great job at creating a game that looks very charming.  However the difficulty at times can be so frustrating that you’ll find yourself abandoning children in order to progress to the next year begging the question ‘are you really any better than their negligent mother?’

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Author: Jordan Moseley View all posts by

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