Review: A Day in the Woods (iOS)
I might be showing my age here, but did you ever own a sliding puzzle? I had several of varying sizes with scenes from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons and they would often go with me on trips to visit family.
Several games used the sliding puzzle system too, I remember one Robocop game required you to finish a sliding puzzle really quickly if you wanted to unlock a memory and get some extra score and maybe an extra life. I moved on, but then I saw local game developers working on a cute puzzle game and I knew I had to have it.
A Day in the Woods puts you in charge of helping Little Red Riding Hood reach her Grandmother. Red has lost her way and apparently there are a lot of cottages in the wood. You need to get Red to the cottage in as few moves as possible to get awarded three stars for the level. Sounds simple, right? It starts off in a pretty straightforward manner, with new elements added gradually. First you need to pick flowers to impress gran with. Then a berry bush gets introduced that, if not collected, will prevent you from getting three stars for the level.
Soon you have to contend with scary bears and trapdoor spiders, which you can’t get to close to, for obvious reasons. The bears can be moved out the way or distracted by honey, but the trapdoor spiders need to either be avoided or, in a dark moment that reminds me of the dark past of the fairy tale, you can shift hapless bunnies close to the spider, which will happily accept the offering and go enjoy its snack, letting you go past with no hindrance except for the pang of guilt.
The game features 60 levels which might be too few for an avid puzzler, but replaying the levels to get all 180 stars will make standing in queues at the bank that bit more bearable. The wood cutout aesthetic is really appealing, with the hexagonal sliding pieces of the board looking like they have a heft and weight to them. Its a small touch but it makes it feel like you are actually playing a sliding puzzle with the rustic pieces moving from spot to spot.
All those stars unlock little cosmetic changes to let you change the scenery a bit. You can change the season or make the fairy that flies above the open hex get new wings or effects on the magic dust it leaves behind. Its not much but it is one of those extras I spend a lot more time tweaking than I am willing to admit.
The little messages from the cottages are a treat, ranging from “Sorry, not your gran” to little jokes or attempts to make you feel bad about the little bunnies you heartlessly sacrificed. *sniff*
I just wish the music played while you were busy playing a level, or you had an option to set that to happen. Its really good music that seems limited to the menus and level select screens.
The game is on iOS and costs R60. You can get it here.