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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

There’s a lot that you can’t expect from a game like Night in the Woods. From its colorful visuals, stunning use of shadows, angsty dialogue, point-and-click gameplay, the game lives up to a polarizing hype that can leave you feeling underwhelmed, yet confusingly content with this experience. 

In this zoomorphic universe, our games’ protagonist Mae has arrived back to her hometown Possum Springs after dropping out of college because of reasons that won’t be revealed until much later in the story. A lot of details surrounding Mae are buried away in the gameplay, which in some ways are tactfully done well but can also become repetitive and uneventful in the long run.

She reconciles with her old friends, and you have a choice in who you prefer to get close to but is the only extent of the interactive experience that you get from the game. The characters assist you on the adventures that you head off to and with the mystery that ties in with Mae’s deteriorating mental health and the unfortunate reputation that makes the citizens of Possum Springs remain wary of her existence.

At night, when Mae falls asleep, there’s a dream gameplay element. Mae is stuck in an ominous dimension but you, as the player, must travel around and track down an object in order to progress in the game. The scoring at these parts in the game is one of the biggest strengths that the game carries, the way it picks up or slows down based on the gameplay actions demonstrates the attentiveness towards the story arc of the game. 

One has to question whether the anti-climactic moments of the game were intended to juxtapose the expectations of the player. That’s where the underwhelming feeling originates from but, as soon as I let go of what I was expecting from the game, Night in the Woods took off into the night and dazzled amongst the stars. The narrative was at its strongest when it was weaving in commentary about the reality of being a young adult with no specific aim or direction in life and the economic difficulties of middle-class families with ambitions and hard work ethics. Despite all the obstacles, they overcome them with small and intimate moments that you should consider yourself lucky to share with others.