Review – The Path

THE PATH – Developed by Tale of Tales

I purchased this game through Steam as part of a package offering multiple games at a low price. The whole packaged contained quite a few games, and a few of which showed promise as very independent and artsy; which admittedly peaked my interest quite a bit.

I was excited to try this game out, and let me start off by saying that I didn’t read up on the history of this game, other reviews, FAQ’s or anything of the sort. I went into this game blind, and what follows is my experience and opinions. If you’ve played this game and feel I missed some critical points, feel free to comment and let me know; but I feel that this review is worthy due to the fact that I am a fairly proficient gamer, and believe as such that a game should be able to be fun without predefined knowledge.

That being said, I started up the game, and was pleasantly surprised as to the art style and twisted view of a classic story. It became apparent that they were going for a gothy red riding hood theme, and they pulled that off marvelously. I was presented with a selection of various goth-styled little girls, and told to select one. So I picked the tall skinny one with a leg brace – she looked like she could use the walk for physio-therapy or something.

After the loading, my character was on a beautiful surreal path in the woods, with presumably insects, pollen and little birds flitting around in the air, tall shady trees, and was presented with a large message: “GO TO GRANDMA’S HOUSE” – “STAY ON THE PATH”. So being the obedient gamer that I am, I figured I would play along and started down the path to grandma’s house. As I walked, I noticed that there were colored icons and sound effects that would appear ever now and then. At some points I heard a dull growling or the sounds of animal footsteps, and saw some paw-prints walk their way across the screen. I stopped, looked all around, I didn’t see anything and continued. There were many other little icons and sounds, but nothing remarkable; just stuff I would attribute to good ambiance.

There I was; peacefully walking through the forest, wondering what was supposed to happen – for quite a while. I debated going off the path, wondering if that was how to get the conflict going. I decided to stick it out and just stay on the path because that’s what I was instructed to do. So as I carried on, I came across a quaint little cottage near some water with a picket fence. I walked up to the door, and then went inside. Once inside, the whole house looked old and withered – great creepy factor, and I was expecting something climactic to happen, but I found I could just move forward along a pre-set path in the house, and it was taking me upstairs towards a bedroom. Upon entering the bedroom, I saw that there was a decrepit old woman sleeping in the bed, so I’m assuming this was grandma. After approaching the bed, the game took over, and the little girl climbed into bed and snuggled with the woman. The woman’s eyes the flew open on her expressionless face – which gave me a chill. Then… THEN! Nothing.

That’s right folks, you heard right – it was the end of the game. That was about 7 minutes from the beginning of the path. I got brow-beaten by the game’s text for not discovering secrets or encountering wolves and a smattering of other stuff… I was then presented with a selection of little girls again, and expected to do it again. I uninstalled the game about 2 minutes later.

Now, let me explain my point of view; It’s not to say that it’s a bad game or poorly designed, I mean, obviously if there were so many things I “failed” to do, it had to have more dimension right? Short answer- I don’t care. When you make a game, there are no rules, but typically when you tell the player to do something, I should hope you don’t punish them for it. Was I expected to venture off the path because that is “human nature” to not listen when rules are imposed? That’s a load of garbage; because all video games are is a collection of rules and boundaries. Even sandbox games have walls and limitations, so you either figure stuff out yourself or the game tells you – you don’t get lied to by the game and then while taking it’s advice have the worlds most boring walk through some pharmaceutical-induced woods; only to find your dessicated grandma in a small cottage just waiting for a young girl to come along for necro-cuddle.

Now, I also thought that maybe the encounters were random, and I just “lucked out” to not have any. Seriously though; nice programming if that’s the case – don’t account for the possibility that all your encounters won’t happen when the dices are rolled.

Basically, good concept – poorly executed. Again, I apologize to the developer if I had a less-than-intended experience for whatever reason; but I will say that Minecraft has no manual, no tips and no written rules – and I’m still playing it and having loads of fun. Makes you wonder what “fun” really is, but it’s not a 7 minute stroll through a trippy forest with pedo-bear’s grandma waiting for you.

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