Game Name – Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries
Publisher(s) – GRIN Studios
Developer(s) – GRIN Studios
Genre – Platformer
Release Date – March 17 2015
Price – $9.99
Reviewed on – PC (Conducted on an Early Access Copy of the game)
My Grandmother taught me how to survive!
What happens when you take a classic fairy tale, twist the story and toss in some platformer elements? Well if you’re GRIN Studios, the answer is pretty evident; you end up with their upcoming release of Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries. In this game you play as Red, who has pretty much had enough with all the crap going on in her life. She lost her mother and more recently, Red experienced the death of her father due to an “accident” at his place of employment. Not believing the lies, Red decides to confront the person she holds responsible for the death of her father, B.B Woolfe (Get it?), the CEO of Woolfe Industries.
As you play through the game, the story unfolds via in-game scenes and dialogue spoken from Red’s perspective. She also has a tendency to dish out some one-liners as well as some trash talking during combat. As you control Red, you have several abilities to help you get through the demented locations you visits and to help keep you alive. Starting with the basic functions; jump / double jump, light and heavy (ground pound) attacks, a roll which is pretty useful in avoiding contact in combat, the ability to sneak past enemies and a run option.
However, Red also has several advanced abilities that she has at her disposal once she builds up meter during combat such as an axe toss (think fireball) and an enhanced heavy attack that can send enemies flying (with some humorous effects). Yes, friends, our little hero seems have been taking lessons from games like Street Fighter, I mean who doesn’t like building meter to unleash more damage onto their foes? And despite how it sounds, it isn’t overall complicated nor does it hamper your gameplay
What would Red Riding Hood be without her bag full of goodies for grandmother? Well in this game she doesn’t exactly carry that around with her, I mean she needs to carry that axe after-all, however, you’ll still find those baskets scattered across the world. The baskets actually handle several tasks in Woolfe: a way to restore your lost health and as checkpoints, which you’ll want to make sure to find them all. You’ll also encounter stage puzzles that will require simple tasks to be completed such as jumping across platforms and more complex ones that require you to hit a switch or jump on a platform and then progress to the section where that switch or platform unlocked something, like a gate to another area.
This at times can be a bit frustrating as the game is riddled with a number of cheap shots that result in death, due to either a poor camera angle which leads to a plunge off a platform or by an stage element such as steam vents, raising spiky pillars or more. Thankfully, you have unlimited lives so you can experience untimely deaths over and over… I mean, so that you can successfully complete the challenge ahead of you.
“Get out of my way, you freak!”
GRIN Studios has also managed to craft a very appealing art-style with Woolfe. From the main character, her enemy set and even the environments that you play through have a varied look to them, from fantastic to down right creepy at times. This translates to some very polished graphics, yet nothing so demanding that only the most equipped high-end PCs can play the game. The audio is on par with the graphics, full of witty one-liners from Red and the background music. Some of the sound effects on the other hand seem off at times. The best way to explain is that it’s a very slight delay,like when you swing your weapon and you hear the effect from that action, though it’s nothing that would detract from your game-play what so ever.
Yet again it’s nice to see that developers are taking note and are adding PC-centric options to their titles and this one is no exception. PC gamers will be happy to see that they have access to a full set of option; vSync, texture detail, anti-aliasing, shadow quality adjustment and even ambient occlusion made it in. I’m also happy to report that the game supports a huge selection of resolutions, including 3440 x 1440, which is the resolution I play most of my games in now thanks to owning a 21:9 format monitor. And while I did experience an issue with that high of a resolution, it was minor and all it did was present black bars throughout the cut scenes which introduced black bars to the sides of my screen. Nothing that impacted the gameplay.
Other than that the game played without a hitch and I was able to play Woolfe @ 60 frames per second with an occasional drop to the lower 50’s at times, I chalked that up to this being a review copy and at the time of my writing this there was still several more weeks of bug testing and optimization to do. However for those running at a 1080p resolution or lower, this game will run like a dream, so no worries on that front.
I definitely enjoyed Woolfe, however there are still a few issues with the game. More than anything is the camera, it simply doesn’t give you enough viewing room sometimes and can easily lead you to a cheap death simply because you can’t see where you were going. While you’re able to span the camera left, right up, or down , it’s in a very limited extent and it isn’t enough to get a good grasp on where you’re going or need to go. Another issue with Woolfe is the amount of cheap deaths you encounter throughout the game, it’s enough at times to induce some controller tossing rage.
That said, I highly recommend Woolfe for anyone looking for a entertaining platformer. The story however is enjoyable enough to keep you entertained, the game-play, while familiar is solid and there’s more than enough puzzles to make you put your thinking cap on in order to progress. The game will give you more than enough challenge and will only stop when you do and that’s all any gamer can ask for.
Hopefully GRIN Studios can keep this streak alive and on to their next title, what ever that may be.
*Review code was provided by developer/publisher.*
Should you pick up Woolfe - Red Hood Diaries? YES!
A fresh take on a classic fairy tale, infused with some platforming elements and combat.
- Solid gameplay elements
- A Beautiful art-style that accompanies a twist re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood
- The Camera can be a pain at times, limiting your area of view
- Level design is a bit confusing at times
- Way too many cheap deaths
- Boss battles don’t have a clear explanation
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