// My heart is beating heavily; when I lift my hands up, they are visibly shaking. I haven’t felt this feeling in a long time. At least not from a game that I would be happy to recommend. Through the Woods finally breaks that mold, steering clear from the jump-scare-filled Slender clones, instead drawing inspiration from series such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Fatal Frame.
From the moment you take control of Karen–the main character in this third-person psychological horror–you begin to tense. Just the atmosphere makes you want to close the game and look at pictures of kittens for the foreseeable future. You press on, however, wanting to explore more of what this game has to offer.
Through the Woods is about a mother (Karen) and her missing son. As you play the game, she is sitting in an interrogation room talking about what happened in the past, while you create it. This only works because of the dynamic narration feature, which allows you to explore the world and still feel part of the story.
A unique feature of Through the Woods is its utilization of night-blindness and a sorta pseudo-sonar/sound-focus mechanic. By turning your flashlight off, you can hear more of what is around you. So the question then is: do you look where you are going and risk attracting the creatures of the forest, or keep the light off and listen as they close in on you? Either way, you’re in for a “treat.”
As you explore the world in an attempt to find your son, you will come across various creatures of differing dispositions. Some will cower from your flashlight, while others enjoy the thrill of the chase and will pursue you if you run. None of them will sneak up on you, so keep an ear out and remember the sounds of each one. This will prove invaluable to you when you inevitably come across them again, as you’ll know what to do.
If I haven’t sold this unique horror experience to you yet, feel free to download the demo of Through the Woods right now and see it for yourself. You will come back itching to pledge to the Kickstarter, or cuddled up with your pet trying to hug away the fear (while still wanting to throw pledge money into the shadows).
At the time of writing, the developer Antagonist Games has just passed their $40,000 initial funding goal, with a little less than two days to go. That doesn’t mean it is time to pack up shop and wait for its release as they’ve already revealed their first two stretch goals: Deeper Lore and Exploration at the $42,500 mark, and Quality Voice Acted Lore for $45,000.