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Night in the Woods Discussion (Nintendo Switch) [game]
 
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This highly praised side-scrolling adventure game just came out on the Switch, anyone check it out?

I'm about a half hour in and loving it. It's kind of like an indie / punk animals Twin Peaks, which is awesome. It has a great art style and soundtrack, interesting characters, fun dialog. Some real gameplay bits to spice it up too, like a Guitar Hero-ish rhythm mini-game.

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Posted: 02/03/18, 20:04:10  - Edited by 
 on: 02/03/18, 20:11:03
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I liked this game. If it didn't take like 8+ hours each playthrough, I'd definitely like to play it again and see the content I missed out on the first time. Pretty sure it would take at least three playthroughs to see everything.

The prequel games (Longest Night and Lost Constellation) were pretty good too, I think they're supposed to be packed into the game on consoles.

After you get your laptop fixed, you can play Witchdagger on it, which is like a dungeon crawler kinda roguelikey game. It didn't really catch my fancy, but I know a lot of other players enjoyed it.
Posted: 02/03/18, 20:33:44  - Edited by 
 on: 02/03/18, 20:40:37
Bought this yesterday and spent four or five hours playing it. I like it so far! My interest in the game had been going up and down quite a bit, and I didn't know what to expect. I feared it would be some overly self-indulgent furry fantasy, or some painful attempt at a modern day Fritz the Cat, but when someone mentioned that there would be mystery and weirdness in a dying little town I had to give it a look.

The story has really hit quite close to home for me, and I can relate way too much to some of the scenes in there. I even started getting a bit choked up in a couple of places because they made me remember how life was for me and some of my friends at one point. Not sure if it's just because of that or not, but the writing has impressed me overall.

I wish the gameplay would have more...gameplay, though. Playing the bass is fun, Witchdagger is a neat extra, and jumping around the rooftops is cool, but I feel a game like this would have been better with some actual puzzles or challenges in there. Like Another Code R for the Wii. That could have ended up being a visual novel, but the point-and-click elements turned it into a proper game in the end. Still, Night in the Woods has been sweet so far. Can't wait to get home and see what will come of the latest, mysterious events.
Posted: 02/05/18, 10:14:06
I've also been playing NITW on Switch, Karen and I must have played it for 4 hours straight Saturday night.

I'm loving the characters and I really like slowly putting together what happened to Mae at college, what happened 4 years ago that gave her this reputation in her home town. I don't know for sure 100% yet, but I like that it's just not fed to you.

Beyond wishing it had more gameplay like r_hjort, though, I find myself wishing I had more say in the unfolding story? For instance, during the (first?) party scene, you can see what's going to happen from miles away. But you can't just not keep drinking.

I guess they can't both give players a lot of say AND tell the specific story they want to tell. I understand that. I'm just mostly wondering what I CAN influence, but I also don't want to spoil it for myself.

From what I gather from just seeing people reacting to the game, you're mostly choosing who you spend time with? Whose storyline you will see through to the end?
Posted: 02/05/18, 20:07:39
Guillaume said:
From what I gather from just seeing people reacting to the game, you're mostly choosing who you spend time with? Whose storyline you will see through to the end?
Yeah, pretty much.

As someone who generally doesn't care for the puzzles or "gameplay" in adventure games, I didn't mind NITW being mostly just rote platforming and talking. But there's so much of it to do, I wish it was just faster. But I suppose that would also not really match the pacing of the game's presentation and such, so it's a tough nut to crack.
Posted: 02/05/18, 20:23:03
Right. Might be beneficial for me to slow down, then. Just play one "day" at a time, so as not to get sick of always doing the same rounds in town.
Posted: 02/05/18, 20:31:29
Beat the game just now. I loved it. Big fan. Would still have liked more gameplayish gameplay, but the plot, setting and characters made for a fantastic experience. Gregg rulz ok.

Gonna jump into the DLC stories tomorrow for sure.
Posted: 02/06/18, 00:08:34
So just to clarify, I'm getting a sort of Persona "you can hang out with different people to see their story progress but it will take up (game) time so you have to choose carefully" vibe from the game, is this accurate? Is it going to screw me if I keep hanging out with all different people? Or should I be focusing on just one or two in order to see their full story?

Keep in mind that I probably won't do multiple playthroughs or anything.
Posted: 02/06/18, 00:40:46
@Zero
I've only played through the game once, but for what it's worth: I spent my time with different people depending on who I felt I wanted to hang out with at the time with no real regard to anything else, and I don't feel like I got screwed over in any way. I know I missed out on certain events, but I don't feel as if there are any major loose ends or huge question marks as a result of that. Just like the plot in general I think it feels quite natural in that respect. You can't hang out with all of your friends all of the time, so you're bound to miss out on some stuff.
Posted: 02/06/18, 09:22:47
Played through the two DLC stories. Was nice, but didn't tie in to the base game to the extent I'd have liked.
Posted: 02/06/18, 21:20:30
Just finished the game.

Wow. I feel like storywise it felt incredibly relevant. I mean it was basically about old men trying to sustain a dying coal town by fucking over the youth and the poor and other marginalized people... seriously, how much more on the nose can you get?!

I think the story writing was top notch. One of the few video games I have played where I thought wow, they must have gotten an actual writer to write this dialog.

I'm a little confused about the ending though. They kind of acknowledge that the "bad guys" are probably still alive down there just trapped and they just... are going to let them die down there? I get that they're bad but still... a pretty dark ending.

The homeless guy like... that was just sad. It's interesting how the game ties it to economics too. Very smart game.

Anyway yeah, loved the story, loved the art style and music, loved how punk rock it was. Could have used more focused gameplay, especially since it actually has pretty solid platforming, but ah well. It is what it is.

Posted: 02/11/18, 07:45:12  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 07:50:15
@Zero
Yeah, this games fits a leftist like me like a hand in glove. It's got punk mentality, it's got social realism, it's anti-capitalism, it's pro-LGBTQ, and it's got a very compassionate way of telling peoples' respective life stories. I guess the latter could be said to be an aspect of the social realism, but they did such a good job of it that I want to mention it again anyway.

Like you say, the homeless guy's story was so sad. Felt really bad about that, but it also felt real. Well, I guess that's what made it so tragic. The cultists in the cave (yay for Lovecraft references that aren't all 'hey, here's Cthulhu and his facial tentacles'!) and their fate didn't feel overly tragic to me though. Fuck the lot of them. But there is so much tragedy and death there that it's almost hard to sum it all up, and now the entire town is basically doomed again. But that's beautiful in a way, I think.

So, who did you end up hanging out with more?
Posted: 02/11/18, 12:03:25
@r_hjort With the cultists I guess my thought wasn't about them, it was more along the lines of how flippantly the group made the decision to let trapped human beings slowly starve to death. Whether they deserve it or not,
for these young adults to make such a dramatic decision that will stay with them for the rest of their lives is huge. How would that affect someone? Plus it barely feels like the decision was MADE, it was just kind of like someone offhandedly mentions that they might still be alive, someone says "shit!" or something like that, and then that fact just sort of gets ignored moving forward.


It also means that no one in town gets any real closure. They even bring up whether they should tell Casey's parents the truth, and then decide against it because the truth is too unbelievable or something, but like... you literally have the proof of this evil conspiracy (trapped) in your hands now! Whether anyone would believe them enough to dig up a whole collapsed mine to find out is perhaps another story, but considering that it was like what 20 dudes or so from the town who would be missing overnight, it'd be a HUGE thing. It's a dying town, there can't even be THAT many old dudes left, a bunch vanishing at once... and these kids claiming they know where they are... could be enough to get closure to the whole situation.

For that matter, wouldn't there be a huge investigation and everything? And you could potentially get into a ton of trouble if it came out that you let all of these people die, even if they are terrible murderers and such. Aunt "mall cop" even references something huge going on near the end and seems to almost be suggesting *something* before she stops herself... was she going to suggest that she thinks Mae was involved?!


BTW what is the deal with aunt "mall cop"? I feel like she tries to give some vague warnings but it's not totally clear to me where they are coming from. Is it just because she cares and is seeing some weird stuff in her line of work? Or is she more in on it?! I read somewhere that she never appeared after the cave collapse in the original version of the game, and was only added in with an update. Probably just an oversight but... WHO KNOWS?!

Anyway. With all of that said I get that there is also this great evil hiding down there that could potentially seduce more people to its evilness if people went mucking around down there so there are definitely reasons to just leave the whole thing be. But like, it seems like people know about the cave collapse anyway, so maybe it'd be better to at least try to give a heads up on what really happened, even if no one believes you?

I just wish there were more in-game conversation about it. For a game that more or less had great writing it sort of blew all of this off.

Hmm, so the town being doomed now well... isn't that sort of the point? Yeah it's sad, BUT. I read this story as a sort of direct response to America electing a hateful / harmful person as president in part because a lot of poor whites were seeing their industrial towns slowly dying and looking for an answer. Our fearless leader specifically promised to bring back the coal industry and other dying industries in ways that well, I'm talking outside of my knowledge here a bit, but from most analysis I've seen it'd basically be impossible to bring those industries back to what they were. It's over. And instead of acknowledging that and accepting that some things end and other things take their place and you have to move on, we got... our dear friend in the White House.

So yeah, knowing the town will be falling into decay again in the future is sad, but it's also sort of like maybe time to accept that? Or at least find alternatives to the shitty things people are doing to try to hold onto a past that is 90% in their head anyway.

Anyway, who did I hang out with most? I think it was Bea, mostly because I hung out with her first and realized we used to be best friends or whatever so I had this strong feeling of wanting to make that all right again. Whereas I never had a clear sense about what my connection to the other two were. Especially Angus, mostly what I know about him is that he is Gregg's boyfriend. Maybe should have gotten to know him better but ah well, what can you do.
Posted: 02/11/18, 19:57:40  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 20:07:13
Can't participate in that convo yet, not done with the story. I'll just put this out here.

This is such a pretty game. Love the music, too.

Posted: 02/11/18, 20:41:28  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 20:43:16
@Zero
I totally agree about the town dying. It's tragic that a community dies out, but a community that has to live on terms like that should probably die. Which I find to be quite beautiful, that it now gets to die with dignity, in a way. It's like the community where I come from, where the inbred asshats are doing their damndest to keep immigrants feeling less than welcome, and where the biggest problem is the fact that too few people move in. The community is dying right now, and I'm saddened by it, but I'd rather see it die than see it live on the terms of ignorant bigots. I'd like to know how much of the plot actually is a direct reference to Trump and his movement, 'cause this game was planned since back in 2013, wasn't it? I guess it doesn't matter, because I think the general message would work well even without a fascist ignoramous in the white house (even though it's obviously amazing what with the world being the way it is right now), but it would be cool to hear if they had other plans and then changed them to suit the contemporary situation a bit better. Would make the writing even more impressive.

About the cave and stuff: So yeah, there is an eldritch evil down there, that has had a tremendous impact on people for a long time, and has even crept into the mind of Mae, so they would definitely want to limit the number of people getting exposed to it to a minimum. People hearing/feeling or otherwise becoming aware of the cave collapsing would be likely to believe it to be the result of a regular cave in considering all the sink holes and stuff that's been emerging in town, so I don't think anyone would have to explain it to anyone if the goal is to keep people away from the black goat.

Exposing the conspiracy or using the trapped cultists as proof would be risky for that reason, but also because there is no real way of knowing how far that conspiracy went, and our heroes aren't exactly the kind of people to trust or respect authorities, so who would they even turn to? Aunt mall cop is being very ambiguous about the whole thing, 'cause she does seem to hint heavily at the existence of the cult, but it's hard to say if she's a part of it or not.

But anyway, about the gang leaving the cultists to die, I'm not sure I think it's all that strange. We're dealing with a group that
- represents pretty much all the social/political values the gang hates
- has admitted to killing people as a means of sacrifice to a nameless evil
- has admitted to having killed one of the gang's best friends
- has tried to kill you personally on two different occasions

With all that in mind I don't think letting them die should make for any big regrets amongst the gang. And like you say, the decision is barely made by anyone. The biggest part of the whole thing just happens, more or less, and then it would probably feel like a much smaller step to ask Germ to bomb the well opening.


On my next playthrough I think I'm gonna hang out more with Bea. I did hang out with her a bit for the same reason as you, but I also missed out on a couple of big Bea events by hanging with Gregg instead. Don't regret that one bit, though, 'cause in one of those instances the goings on got me all teary eyed. Will try to hang more with Angus as well, but I feel that I managed to get a decent idea of who he is anyway.

@Guillaume
Sure is pretty. I've got a couple of gorgeous screenshots on my Switch, but I don't want to post them because spoilers. Music is really good too; I went and bought the soundtrack on Bandcamp earlier today, actually. Fine stuff.

EDIT: I love Gregg. Everyone must love Gregg. How can you not love Gregg? Gregg rulz ok.

Posted: 02/11/18, 20:57:36  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 21:05:32
@Guillaume I, as I am sure many others have, took that exact same picture!

@r_hjort Well I don't know how much the game is referencing Trump specifically but those type of sentiments didn't arise from nowhere, they have been around for years now. Still it feels like it wasn't a coincidence. I mean Trump was literally promising to bring back prosperity to dying coal towns! How much more on the nose can you can?!

There is even a point where Mae refers to the cult as "Republican uncles", in case anyone somehow thought this was a totally fictional animal world that wasn't supposed to have any real connection to our real world, the game disabuses you of that notion pretty strongly.

About the cave collapse, this is fiction so I guess we can leave it vague as to what may happen next, but in reality if a cave collapses mysteriously AND like 20 or so people go missing the same night AND there has been a string of mysterious disappearances up this this point... someone is going to piece it together and say let's get to the bottom of that cave. And probably the group could get busted for murder or at least some form of negligent homicide, especially by asking their friend to dynamite the only escape which is basically a strong piece of evidence that someone not only survived the cave collapse but.
Posted: 02/11/18, 21:09:07  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 21:31:06
@Zero
Oh yeah, I didn't mean to imply that Trump is the origin of any of these sentiments or phenomena, but like you say he campaigned on clean coal bullshit, so that's why I wonder if they'd adapted their story in order to better mirror reality.
Posted: 02/11/18, 21:21:22
@Zero
As you might remember from the section at the end, aunt mall cop says a lot of calls have been coming in (implied to be after the cave collapsed), so I'd bet the cultists' loved ones are calling in to report their friends/family members missing. Now, whether or not anything big happens as a result of this is probably up to aunt mall cop.

If she's not siding with the cult she'd be likely to take this opportunity to cover up their deaths in order to protect the townsfolk and her own family from further danger. If she is siding with the cult she might still want to cover it up and then get rid of the threat in a more stealthy way since the cult's whole MO relies on them being secret. I wouldn't bet that too much would come of that either way. Even if the people calling in were not to believe the explanations that they would be given, and would end up connecting it all to the cave collapsing, it would probably be too big of a task for them to dig all the way down to the bottom of the cave, especially without the local law enforcement on their side.

As for the string of disappearances I don't think they're a factor at all since the cult specifically chose people who wouldn't be missed or even noticed. Casey's family seems to be the exception to the rule, and even his disappearence has been widely accepted as him just leaving town since that doesn't seem out of character for him. Hadn't Mae spotted that one kid getting kidnapped noone would have noticed that either, and even when she does nobody seems to care since nobody has been reported missing.


EDIT: Just realized that the game's animator/co-writer Scott Benson is the same Scott Benson who made this brilliant short. I think I might like this guy.
Posted: 02/11/18, 22:07:20  - Edited by 
 on: 02/11/18, 23:44:06
@r_hjort Woah I didn't realize he was the one who made that, though it probably explains why I was already following him on Twitter before the game came out lol.

So the aunt well... if she's not with the cult (which I don't THINK she is), why would she want to cover things up at all? It's unclear how much she knows but I don't think she knows about the deep dark evil, right? From her perspective it would just be this shitty group of people kidnapping and potentially murdering (the arm is the only real clue there) people. Why wouldn't you want to expose that and give everyone closure?

And I'm pretty sure if a mine collapsed and it is assumed that several people are down there, potentially still alive, it'd be national news and they would get those people out, dead or alive. Wouldn't be something the local police would have to budget for or whatever.

For that matter, why the arm? I never quite understood that. They kidnapped people and threw them in a pit deep in a mine. How would an arm end up in the middle of a city?! They said it was removed AFTER death too, so it wasn't like somehow lost in a struggle...
Posted: 02/11/18, 23:59:04
@Zero
I think she'd want to cover it up to protect Mae and the rest of her family. She keeps dropping hints about the cult as a way to warn Mae throughout the game, including places where people tend to go missing, so I don't think it's out of the question that she knows why the cult exists, or what they worship. It's heavily implied that Mae's family used to work at the mine too, so that connection might mean that Molly has access to insight or info that others don't.

She also seems to have a pretty decent idea of where Mae is a lot of the time (even making sure to pick her up on the night she arrives), as if she's keeping an eye on her, either to protect her from getting abducted or to keep her away from the cult's business, depending on your interpretation. Couple that with Mae ending up getting hurt and ending up crawling back to town from out in the hills that Molly mentioned before I wouldn't rule out Molly putting two and two together and realizing that the cult's after Mae, if she hadn't realized that before. My bet is that she became aware of Mae having become a problem to the cult when Mae saw one of the abductions and made a fuss over it.

If the people with missing family members were to connect it all to the mine collapsing I suppose that could be blown up to a proportion far too big for the local police, sure. I'm tired right now, so I'm forgetting, but: Do we know if anyone else actually knows that the mine has collapsed? Does anyone outside of the gang mention that in any way during the ending?

As for the arm, I have no clue. I just chalked that up to the guy responsible for that particular murder being even more psycho than the others. Figured that was another one of the reasons why he'd become a liability to the group and why they felt he had to be put down.
Posted: 02/12/18, 00:27:35  - Edited by 
 on: 02/12/18, 10:36:31
I finished the main story a couple days ago, and the supplements last night. The supplements were alright.

A few quick impressions and remarks:

@Zero The wording is "conservative uncles", not "republican". But while I think Trump does make the Republicans' racism and hatred of the poor more overt, it's not exactly a new direction for them. It's still mostly the same people in power pushing the same agenda to destroy wealth redistribution measures and punish the poor. Trump just makes it more blatant. As has been pointed out, they've been working on this game since 2013. It's not a direct reaction to just Trump.

As for the game's late revelations and ending, I have no problem with the last-minute eldritch horror turn and the cult, but kind of feel like I either missed the clues, or they didn't build up to it sufficiently. Like, I didn't notice in the old newspaper articles at the library anything that would point to the development of some sort of conservative cult, in fact, most of the articles were about struggles between the union and the bosses.

There is no hint that a group of people hangs together to make sacrifices, is there? You only see a few people hanging out together: the two Go Smelters guys, the four town council people. And they're all accounted for after the mine collapse.

The existence of Bruce seems to contradict the twist of the story. They leave him alone for days and days, and there are no signs that he's being stalked or harassed. There are definitely signs that he's not welcome in town, but no violent action is directed towards him, and he's got an ally in the minister. And when he leaves, it's on his own terms. I dunno. Maybe Bruce's story doesn't run counter to the twist, but it also definitely doesn't support it either. And he's the only example of a homeless person this town has.

As for Aunt Mall Cop, I never got the feeling that she knew about any kind of cult. She knows about disappearances, but it's very possible she's treating them as isolated incidents or, if not isolated, hasn't tied them all back to the existence of a town cult. Because as I mentionned above,
there's nothing pointing in that direction.


Anyway, as I said, I really like the game and I kinda like the ending, but it seems a little bit unearned to me. It's almost as if they didn't want to commit to it, or it was a last-minute decision and they didn't do the work of going back and building up to it earlier in the game.

As disappointing as Thimbleweed Park's late turn and ending may have been, they still did a better job foreshadowing it earlier in the game.
Posted: 02/14/18, 16:57:11  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/18, 17:15:26
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