Road Not Taken
A tale of wizards and blizzards
Road Not Taken, like the winter in which it’s set, is cold and cruel. You’re a silent stranger and your job is to save children who’ve got lost picking berries in a blizzard. Your staff enables you to levitate and throw them in straight lines until they’re reunited with an adult, but the forest is full of obstacles and it’s cold. If you need to move while carrying something, or though a blizzard, you’ll lose energy. Run out, and you’ll die.
Each gridded area of the forest – some generated fresh and unpredictably each game, some uniform – is small but busy. Creatures move when you do – a pain when you need to group them to open a door. There are more than 100 kinds of object, and each acts differently and is part of a complex system of crafting new items. Many recipes for these items are unintuitive, so you’ll have to check the Book of Secrets to recall them, though discovering them through experimentation is a joy.
Befriend villagers by giving them things they like (be it berries or bunnies) and they’ll reward you with recipes. Some folk are as cold as their surroundings, complaining about the loss of berry-based income the children’s disappearance will cause. That dark humour provides some light relief, but it’s not enough to offset the frustration of the puzzles. It might not matter how rapidly the difficulty escalates if this weren’t a game that changes with every play, but the puzzles are just too fiddly to give the game that ‘one more try’ feeling. Jordan Erica Webber
Different and darkhumoured, but after several deaths it might leave you feeling out in the cold.
That clean, crisp visual style fits particularly well on a Mac.