The impact and standard of Indie games continues to grow, and an anniversary today highlights another title that helped to elevate the medium in recent times. Night in the Woods, developed by Infinite Fall and published by Finji, has turned five years old today - it arrived on Switch a little later on 1st February 2018.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and being picked up for publishing the game made its mark on PC, Mac and PS4 on 21st February 2017, and in the following year earned plenty of critical acclaim, sales success and a range of award wins and nominations.
Though you have a degree of agency and plenty of control, Night in the Woods has been praised a great deal for its narrative and storytelling. It set high standards for addressing some challenging themes such as mental health and small town life - though its world is populated by assorted animals, their human qualities and concerns made it an extremely relatable game for a lot of players.
Gaming continues to have a strong influence in providing emotional connections and tackling real-world issues and themes, and Night in the Woods has certainly played its part in starting conversations since its release five years ago.
Have you played Night in the Woods? If so we'd love to read your thoughts on it in the comments.
Oh wow, it's been 5 years already? Night in the Woods still sits in my top 5 games of all time, even after all of this time. I was charmed from beginning to end, and there was never a moment where I wanted to leave Possum Springs. More people really need to give this one a shot.
I had never heard of this game (I missed it at the time and it's not on any of Nintendo Life's 'best of' lists possibly because of the strange genre), but after reading the review just now I'm definitely interested in playing.
This was meant to be getting a Limited Run release. But I think they must have forgotten about it. I was going to grab it.
Watched a lot of gameplay when my wife was working through it and it looked like so much fun. So cozy and full of character and detail. Lovable characters and great storytelling.
We’re both hoping for a sequel!
I have and it's been an amazing ride. I highly recommend it. I finished a run choosing Bea's options and now I'm replaying it to choose Gregg's. Loving it all over again.
@GregamanX I've been intrigued by it often, but the rare sales never brought it to a price that makes a digital game a 'spontaneous' purchase. It's only on sale once a year or so, while there are hundreds if not thousands of games on sale among which a few super cheap very fun ones, or to me, who didn't experience it yet, equally intriguing games.
it's a pretty strong game. never resonated with me as much as it did some others but the story itself was swell and i liked all the main cast well enough (though I do wish angus got a little more time to cook)
hoping this comment section can stay this positive
@GregamanX I think it might be one of my all-time favourites as well. Played it on Game Pass last year. So thankful I gave it a go because it really is fantastic.
I was recommended this early but found every character insufferable, the intriguing first hour or so before it falls off was cool though. My friend, a huge fan of the game who recommended it, said maybe I didn't "get" it because I didn't grow up with social anxiety.
I got this on PC back in summer 2020 with the anti-racism itch.io bundle, I really need to play it (and a lot of the other games I got in it, too...)
@ThomasBW84 Still waiting for that physical release LRG announced years ago. Put on hold because the game's designer likes to abuse people around him. Just sad and unfortunate. The abuse, not the delayed physical release. https://www.polygon.com/2019/8/29/20835673/night-in-the-woods-alec-holowka-abuse-zoe-quinn
@Magician that entire situation is terribly sad and people approach it with an absolute 0 sense of nuance or tact and it drives me insane, regardless, i do hope the comment section doesn't devolve into only talking about it (would you look at that it's devolving into both things I said here woweeee)
@Matty1988 you're not the only one who feels that honestly, it's very much a "if you don't gel with the characters the game doesn't work" game
Love this game, just replayed it last year. Looking forward to whatever they're working on next.
@Magician For objectivity's sake it's good to know the other side to this story, as well.
No doubt all this stuff affected any plans for any further releases of the game, and personally I don't blame them.
This was first true ‘indie’ game maybe 4 years ago. Still think it resonates
@Magician Put on hold because the game's designer likes to abuse people around him
We'll never find out the truth now anyway.
I teach high school English and we used this as a “text” in class this year. Played through the game in class together on the Switch. Kids really loved it, and that was the most outloud reading in class I’ve ever heard from a bunch of 9th graders. One student was inspired by the game and continues to show me her artbook each week with her new drawings and comics of the characters. Amazed at this game’s impact!
Tried to play this game but never understood what was all the buzz about this game , and I quit.
Definitely one of the worst games I've ever played. I understand it's really not for me because I don't suffer from the things the game addresses, but there are other games that aren't for me either that are much better than this (Celeste was great, didn't really care for Gone Home but at least it was fine). I think "insufferable" that was used before is a good word for it.
I absolutely adored this game even though the ending is stupid(imo) and has some cheesy writing... but nonetheless this game will always stay in my heart as its incredibly relatable to my own personal experiences when I was young, suicidal, drunk and reckless.. extra points for them having a band together..as I did too😀..anyways God has saved me and am grateful for the journey
Let’s hear it for English teachers that realize that video games are a plausible and necessary medium of storytelling!
As for me, I’ve never played this game before and don’t really think it’s my thing, but I’ve heard good things and am happy for the success it’s received.
Well, somebody was bound to be stupid enough to set off the obvious powdered keg by bringing up Alec Holaka. He's dead, BTW.
Still waiting on Zoe Quinn to deliver on her kickstarter game.
@Xyphon22 Yeah I'd agree with the "insufferable" comment. I think in particular the main character is written to be an awful caricature of a person, if you're relating to her then you're not the kind of person I want to be around anyway let alone relate to
Err, what I've played of this has been pretty good so far - but are we really having articles for the anniversaries of third party indie games now? Like do we really care that much about how old Celeste or Shovel Knight are too? Btw everyone, my Mum's cat turned five today - just in case you might like to know.
@brunojenso - some games resonate with others. I have recommended this game to all my pals and remains one of my favourites. So I am very happy to be reminded of this anniversary and its a moment in gaming that is hard to beat - riding a motorbike with Gregg.
@noobish_hat i didn't find it that bad when i played? mind you, that was a good 4 or 5 years ago at this point but
Really love this game. Very atmospheric. Music is really good as well. Writing is fantastic. Though it always seems a bit odd when an indie game file is the same size as a AAA Nintendo game. Still, recommended.
Removed - trolling
It seems this article has brought out all the Gregg lovers 😅. Maybe it's time for me to change my profile pic
Dropping a team member based on allegations that, when you actually look at them, don't even make sense (their conversations were public and contradict everything claimed) says to me that it was partisan politics and little else.
People like that won't see money from me.
@brunojenso I am sooooo sorry I didn't have a gift prepared for your Mum's cat. Please please please forgive me. Watashi o yurushite!!!
RIP to Alec Holowka, the game's creator.
Been on the switch for 4 years and never a sale past 50%? Ouch. Guess I'll look again in another 4.
I was very interested when this game released... seemed like a cool indie experience.
Unfortunately, my wife and I found it to be an absolute slog to get through... we put it down for a while... then picked it back up to finish it, just to do so. It was never enjoyable for us.
One of the best games I have ever played.
This is a game that has been on my to buy list since release but as is the way of things because of all the other big releases over the years I always end up forgetting about it. 2022 will be the year I buy this game.
Played this for the first time last year. What a unique game. Very relatable too.
Absolutely adored NITW
It's characters were some of the best written in games to date.
5 years of depression woooooooo
Anyone reading this, if you liked Night in the Woods, please check out Mutazione! It's a real hidden gem
I really wanted to get the physical, but limited run delayed it after the controversy of abuse
RIP Alec Holowka
NITW has been on my Switch wish list since I read the review for it here on NL.
I wasn't aware of the controversy surrounding creator Alec Holowka or his subsequent suicide, though. It was really tragic reading all this tonight.
To the few people who stated they couldn't relate the the characters because of the mental health issues the game deals with: I've suffered from undiagnosed chronic depression and social anxiety since as long as I can remember, only to finally see a doctor and get treatment when in my 30s and even I hated these characters. As a sufferer of mental illness, I do NOT want, expect, or ask for special treatment and find it insufferable when others of my kind bring it up in coversation that didn't warrant it. It is my problem, no one l elses, and I despise the idea that people younger than me have been trained to drop the Mental Illness Bomb when looking for an excuse for their objectionable behavior. And trust me, as a middle school teacher, many most certainly are. I slammed through all the dialogue in Celeste, too, BTW. Truly awful stuff, dreadful writing raised up as an example of games being a legitimate medium for narrative is why people like me tell the kids to stick to film and literature.
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