Developer: Alterego games
Publisher: Stickylock Studios
Genre: Adventure, Indie, Story-Driven
Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Official Site: Woven
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Where to Buy it: Steam, Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, Windows Store
With fun romps like Yoshi’s Wooly World and Unravel, it is a brave move to want to take on a world made of fabric and plushies. Artistically, Woven handles its fabric-covered world with grace and charm. Witty prose and narration make the player feel like they’re in a Dr. Seuss book. However, the game seems to be missing the character necessary to make such a concept work. But this is a promising start!
The story is as follows:
In a knitted world of wool, cotton and all kinds of soft fabrics, you would think that everything lives in harmony. Hills and mountains of linen portray the softness in which beavers building a dam with wire. And a snake that cares about the latest trends and fashion, a peaceful place full of creativity, right?
Stuffy is a well-meaning but rather clumsy stuffed animal that lonely walks around in this world. He stumbled upon Glitch, a metal firefly who has lost his memory and identity.
Has Stuffy been left behind? And where do all these metal machines suddenly come from? And what does Glitch have to do with this?
One of the most charming things about Woven is its environment. The setting and characters are depicted beautifully with their woven, fabric finishes. As Stuffy walks past mountains, you can see the details of the yarn or the stitchwork in a fallen tree. The care and attention with which this game was designed are extremely clear, and it is hard not to appreciate the attention to detail throughout. The colors and patterns are bright and whimsical, and it set the story up perfectly.
Despite how good Woven looks, its shining star might just be the writing. It’s written entirely in rhyme, and it only adds to the charm oozing from this little indie title. The wonderful narration enhances the wit and whimsy of the story and truly makes it feel like Woven is straight out of the Dr. Seuss universe. Like the visuals, it is clear that the story was really thought out, and it really adds something special to the experience.
That being said, the visuals and the story are definitely Woven’s strongest aspects. While it is a puzzle game at its core, there’s something unsatisfying about the gameplay in general. At times it all feels a little too juvenile from the simple controls to some of the puzzles. But, at times, that is off-set by the total frustration of having no idea what you’re supposed to be doing. Every time a new control is introduced, a graphic appears, but these are difficult to see and make out which forces you to spend the time trying to figure it out.
Even then, once you figure out the proper controls, your time for trial and error isn’t over yet. There is little to no direction when it comes to what you’re supposed to be doing within the game. Most of the time, I just happened upon the next destination or the next puzzle to help progress the game. All in all, this lack of direction and purpose really juxtaposes the obvious care taken with the more creative elements of the game. That is why, ultimately, it seems as though Woven could benefit from a little more time and a little more polish to make it feel like a more cohesive experience.
All in all, I think there is a lot of good in Woven, and I think this would be a great game to play with your kiddos. However, it still feels like there is something lacking for more serious gameplay. The puzzles themselves weren’t that difficult, but finding the proper way or trying to figure out how to control things were more frustrating than the puzzles themselves. That being said, I hope the developers continue to work on Woven because I would love to see how they vamp up the experience in the future. Because if it wasn’t so charming, Woven would have gotten a lower score for me.
Verdict: Woven has a lot of charm. It’s written in poetic prose reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, which is just perfect tonally and for the setting. These charming words really bring the artistic design to life, and the yarn textures and stitches in the environment really sell it. However, that’s about all Woven has going for it. At times, it feels juvenile and empty while unclear controls and actions add a sense of frustration. Despite the writing and artistic design having so much life, Woven, ultimately, feels a little flat.
Have you played Woven yet? What are your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments below!
- Charming artistic design
- Well-written Dr. Seuss-esque prose
- Oozing with wit and charm
- At times, it can feel more like a walking simulator
- Has a tendency to feel juvenile
- Unclear directions
Shelby loves horror, animals with short, stubby legs, and PlayStation exclusives. When she isn’t here writing, her nose is often stuck in a book or hacking people in Overwatch.