Woven is a game that’s all soft and fluffy, with an adorable main character who’s name is Stuffy. It’s a great game to play in your free time, with a narrative spoken entirely in rhyme.
- Developer: Alterego Games
- Publisher: StickyLock Studios
- Release date: 15th November 2019
- Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS
- Reviewed on: Windows PC
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
Okay, that’s the extent of my rhyming capabilities; I won’t subject you to any more! Woven is the brainchild of a Kickstarter campaign that began back in 2016; a long journey that eventually ended with a cute cuddly little elephant landing on our screens. The game is adorable and unnerving all at the same time.
Woven surrounds an adorable character called Stuffy and his mechanical sidekick called Glitch. Glitch crashes (literally) into Stuffy’s life and they pair up to explore a woven world filled with mystery and intrigue. Stuffy is a cute little character that will remind everyone of the plush toys they used to have as a kid, but he also has a knack for changing his appearance and abilities, thanks to Glitch. The mechanical marvel is able to re-form Stuffy into different animals with different patterns that can be found throughout the world. With each form that Stuffy takes a new ability is given: his pig form can push boulders, his deer form can jump great heights and distances, and his elephant form can move blocks. It’s a cute mechanism that allows you to not only personalise Stuffy but also chop and change what abilities you need at any given point.
Stuffy is a simple creature that I can relate to, whom prior to his fortuitous encounter with Glitch spends his days wandering around looking for pretty things that pique his interest, and more often than not gets himself into awkward situations whilst doing so. He’s afraid of the dark, and so is unable to go into dark caves. However, one day he comes across a mechanical being called Glitch, who needs to remember where he comes from. Glitch is a helicopter/dragonfly hybrid of sorts with one eye. He would be unnerving if it wasn’t for Stuffy’s adorable reaction to him. Together they overcome obstacles and delve deeper into the woven world that Stuffy is so fond of.
The characters themselves don’t speak, with the story conveyed eloquently by a faceless narrator. He talks you through the story in simple rhyming verses. The verses themselves are easy enough to follow as they are subtitled; however, sometimes I would find that the odd verse would go on for a little longer than necessary. “Let me play the game!” I often pleaded. Also, when you’re let loose on the world, the narrator enjoys interrupting with little sentences here and there, which I found took me out of the experience a bit more than it perhaps meant to.
For a cute indie game, the gameplay works well. Initially, the gameplay is quite linear whilst you are introduced to the controls and mechanics available to Stuffy. However, later into the game the map starts to sprawl out and leave more to be explored. This allowed me to truly lose myself in the game and its environment. Throughout the game you have the option of collecting different forms and textures for Stuffy. These can be found all over the place, some of them are quite easy; others involve a little bit more mental effort.
One slight bugbear is that this game doesn’t have a map of any sort, so if you want to backtrack you have to remember where you’ve been and work your way through. It’s not a major issue but I’m not the best at remembering things, so going back and forth sometimes resulted in me becoming hopelessly lost.
Controls wise, Stuffy is a little cumbersome: it’s designed to be a point-and-click style of movement but I don’t work well with those. Immediately I changed the movement to the good old WASD controls and started to manoeuvre Stuffy with ease. Each ability is easily accessed by a HUD; Glitch tells you what ability can be used when, which allows you to work through puzzles quite quickly.
The graphics have a unique feel to them than your normal indie game. The environment makes me want to jump in and curl up in a field with the sheep. Each texture is soft and huggable. The grass looks like a blanket, the trees like pillows, every single thing looks like it was made to fall asleep on. It gives a great calming feel to the game, which allowed me to relax into it. The shading is well done, and the colour is vibrant enough to keep me engaged.
The music in this game is highly pleasing to the ears. As it appears to be tailored towards the younger player, the developers could have gone for excited tones and manic beats, but I’m glad they didn’t. The soundtrack allows you to explore to your heart’s content without being distracted by unnecessary bass. Stuffy himself has the ability to call out into the world and his sounds are the cutest things I’ve heard in a long time.
Woven is the cutest game I’ve played in a while, from the adorably cuddly Stuffy, to the rolling hills of soft blankets, this game invites you in for a cuddle. It’s marketed towards the younger player but that doesn’t mean that the older player won’t get anything out of it either. These developers deserve a pat on the back for a cute job well done.