The Fabled Woods: Game Review
Sometimes, when you’re choosing a new game to play, all you really want is a dark, twisted story that’ll draw you in and keep you pushing forward all the way through. The Fabled Woods from Joe Bauer and CyberPunch Studios is the perfect game for that mood. Hailed as an engaging, beautifully designed, and somewhat troubling game you can play in one session, The Fabled Woods seems to be, by all appearances, a gem in the world of indie games. Let’s find out for ourselves!
1 - Visuals
When I first started playing The Fabled Woods, I thought, “oh no, the visuals aren’t living up to my expectations.” I was utterly shocked because one of the main draws of the game had been the stunning visuals, and they were pretty grainy. However, I persevered, and happily so, because I learned very quickly that the grainy quality was not from the game; it was, in fact, from my terrible internet connection.
If you have a bad internet connection, you might find this game a bit gritty, but rest assured that when played through a quality connection, the visuals in this fantastical forest are beyond comparison. With a combination of beautiful lighting, small details, and an overall forest of curiosities, the visuals of this game truly lives up to their reputation.
For visuals, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
2 - Audio
The Fabled Woods’ audio is perfectly suited to the game. It’s quiet and peaceful when that’s what you need and intense when the moment calls for it. A game that has you walking through the woods needs a level of ambiance that doesn’t distract from the game and enhances all the right moments, and The Fabled Woods’ audio does the trick.
That being said, the marvelous audio in this game isn’t just owed to the background music. The Fabled Woods is also speckled with a voice-over from many characters whom you’ll discover as you explore the woods, and those VO audio bits serve to flesh out the story and make the game even more interesting.
For audio, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
3 - Story/Progression
The Fabled Woods’ story is described by the game creator as a narrative short story that can be enjoyed in a 90-minute session. That is absolutely an accurate description. It’s not a long game: in fact, you may find yourself wanting more to play. However, the story unfolds very effectively within the relatively short playtime.
As is my general practice, I won’t be giving any spoilers here, but I will tell you that this story will catch you off guard. In the beginning, you may think you’re just taking a relaxing walk through the forest, but that is not the case. By the end, you’ll be feeling all the feels and you’ll be glad that you had such a relaxing forest to experience such a story within.
For Story/Progression, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
4 - Gameplay
Like any game, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the mechanics of The Fabled Woods, but once you’ve got the hang of it, maneuvering through the woods and the story is fairly easy.
I’d say the trickiest thing about this game is that you can’t go absolutely everywhere in the game. Yes, you can go through the entire story without a hitch. But, if you want to go off and explore a wee bit into a lake or around a corner, you don’t always have that ability. I know this game was created by one person, so I understand they couldn’t have fit in exploring options for every nook and cranny – that kind of thing takes a big team of designers – but as an explorer of hidden spaces in games, I was a little sad to learn that I couldn’t go everywhere I wanted to go.
For gameplay, this game gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
5 - Context
The Fabled Woods sits very nicely in the context of adventure games that lead without pushing you through the story. That being said, this game also carved out space for itself in the collection of games that play like a short story. This is a fairly common theme in indie games, and it works especially well in The Fabled Woods.
If that sounds like your niche within the range of games available, you’ll find The Fabled Woods to be an exemplary option for a game that will lead you on a journey, tell you a very unique story, and get you safely through the woods.
For context, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.
The Fabled Woods truly lived up to everything I had heard about it before playing. The one fault I saw right off the bat was merely a byproduct of my internet connection, and from there on out, I was riveted with every moment. If this game had only been a bit longer and had a little more room for exploration outside of the storyline, it would be an absolutely perfect game in my book. As is, I can say that while it might not cater to everything I want in a game, it’s still quite exceptional. Well done, Joe Bauer!
Overall, this game gets 5 out of 5 stars.