The Path [Review]

Developed by Tale of Tales in 2009, The Path is an indie game that doesn't quite fit comfortably in any particular genre. Essentially, it is an exploration game with themes from Little Red Riding Hood – not the children’s fairy tale, but the more grim and macabre version. The game is $9.99 on Steam and has a free demo; it is also available in a $21.97 bundle that also contains The Graveyard and Fatale. The game will appeal to people that enjoy interactive story lines, including multiple endings as well as hours of content to explore with collectibles. The game play is basically nonexistent; rather, the interpret-ability and ambiance of the game are what makes it entertaining.

The story is a spin-off of Little Red Riding Hood. You start the game with a character select screen – each character is identical in function. Soon after, you are dropped off on a road with a forest on both sides and no landmarks visible; follow the road and you will eventually run into Grandmother’s house. That, however, is the end of the game – the point of the game is to explore the forest. Most events in this game are left to your imagination, with a very creepy feel.

The game play consists of running and interacting. The controls are clunky – which is the game’s main issue – but since there’s nothing that you need to do so quickly, it doesn't take away from completing the objective. It only manages to hurt the immersion. As you explore the forest, you will find many flowers – which are all identical and can be collected – and other special collectibles. There are also a few people and events scattered throughout that progress the story bit by bit. Very simple – the game is more of a story than a challenge.

The visuals, however, in the game are fantastic. While it might not look like a AAA budget with realistic graphics and a destruction engine, the dynamic lighting, along with contrasting colors, both vibrant and mellow, provide an aura of chilling creepiness.

Its feel is augmented by the soundtrack, which is also dynamic and directly relates to the lighting. For example, when you run for long distances, the camera angle will change, the borders will get dark, and you hear a heartbeat, heavy breathing, wolves, and wind blowing. It is hard to explain the full scope of the creepiness this game has to offer, so if you’re curious, try the demo.  The games in the bundle have much less content than this one, but have similar game play.

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