Fairy Tales are such a gold mine for game settings and concepts. They’ve certainly been explored by many games in one way or another, but I still think that there’s a huge wealth to be tapped.
Alientrap Games are doing just that with Wytchwood, an exploration and crafting game that casts you as the old witch of the woods of so many Grimm’s fairy tales.
Wytchwood is a crafting adventure game set in a land of gothic fables and fairytales. As the old witch of the woods, explore a strange countryside, collect magic ingredients, brew sorcerous spells, and pass judgement upon a capricious cast of characters.
I was initially drawn to Wytchwood by its gorgeous artwork. For having such dark humor, the game is surprisingly colorful, loaded with bright natural colors that are warm and inviting. The art style reminds me of storybooks I was read as a child, and feel much more like illustrations than animations.
The demo I played began with the Witch being roused from slumber by an annoying goat. After learning the basic controls and gathering your basic tools, you head out of your house to find your other goat, a much more sinister, though superbly voice acted, character with devilish intent. This goat tasks you with clearing the ancient altar in the wood, and then offering a sacrifice to it of Frog’s Slime, Dog’s Hair and Bird’s Feathers. It’s all very atmospheric and thematic and I was ready to get exploring!
You set off into the world and run into the main gameplay loop of Wytchwood: Exploration, gathering resources, crafting tools, acquiring key items.You’ll need to secure each of the items the goat tasked you with finding by crafting a series of tools and traps, each needing their own specific crafting materials.
For instance, to get the Dog’s Fur, you’ll need to create some Soporific Meat by trapping a small critter with a hand crafted snare, harvesting its meat, then tracking down some specific mushrooms. Combine the meat and the mushrooms to make a hunk of meat that you can toss an an unsuspecting farm dog, quickly putting into a deep sleep. Then, simply snip off a clump of hair with your trusty sheers and you’ve got the first item you need to progress!
The game controls well, and feels very much like an evolution of Don’t Starve’s mechanics. There’s very clearly a large number of options at your finger tips, but unlike the vast freedom of the open world that Don’t Starve presents, you’re guided by the game’s narrative. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing at all, and the strength of the game’s writing and dialogue bode well for this being a tale worth being told.
All in all, Wytchwood has a ton of potential, and already has a firm foundation to build on with gorgeous artwork, great voice acting and writing, and a solid set of game mechanics. I’m eager to see how the game develops, and how it keeps things interesting.
Wytchwood is currently set for a release in 2019.