Sometimes, it’s nice to play games that don’t expect you to go around beating up baddies or try to survive in a perilous world, but instead be a part of a charming and joyful experience. Woven does just that, with its whimsical escapade unlike most platforming-adventures available these day with its non-violent and puzzle-focused approach.
Players take on the role of Stuffy, a stuffed doll-like creature that finds himself in a little bit of a pickle thanks to his ripped seams. Thankfully, he meets the peculiar flying robot Glitch, who not only helps Stuffy get fixed back up again but also wants to take him on an adventure to recover his own lost memory. There’s also the mystery of where all of Stuffy’s friends have gone as well as the origin of the other robotic creatures roaming the world… oh, and Glitch wants to go to the moon too, so there’s a lot going on.
It’s a pleasant little tale that’s all narrated in rhyme, so it’s hard not to find it charming. Admittedly, it can also be a bit childish too, but sometimes it’s nice to play a game that focuses on just being whimsical and cute. That being said, it is a little guilty of dragging some of its story sequences out at times and there’s no way to skip through text, so you can expect to be left waiting to see events progress – at least it gives you a chance to relax and take in the jolly vibes, though.
Woven’s pleasantness applies to its gameplay too, and whilst it may look like your typical platforming adventure, it’s actually a non-violent experience that doesn’t feature any form of death and is based around exploring the environment and solving puzzles. Unfortunately, it isn’t always successful with its delivery of these aspects – whilst pretty, the world itself is a bit too vacant and linear in design to feel overly immersed in. Sure, there are things to discover and there are different environments to see, but they all felt a little bit bland from a gameplay perspective.
At least the puzzles add a bit more creativity to the experience, with the player having to use a machine to customise Stuffy’s appearance in order to gain access to new abilities. Whilst he starts off as an elephant, you’ll eventually find blueprints to change his form into the likes of a dragon, pig, cat, antelope, and bear – that’s just naming a few of them too. Each different form offers a variety of abilities such as climbing, flying, pushing and stomping, and you’re even able to mix-and-match to use multiple at the same time.
These all tie in to the puzzles nicely, though there’s no real challenge to be found in them. I always knew immediately what I had to do just by looking at what was in front of me, so it was just a case of making sure I had the right abilities equipped to Stuffy. There are some puzzles that are a bit cleverer and require you to change Stuffy’s pattern though, with Glitch able to scan the environment around him to gain access to new styles – these instances were particularly neat and often demanded a bit more of a thought process from the player. Still, you shouldn’t expect to feel too challenged in Woven, with almost all aspects of the gameplay feeling pretty simple in design.
As mentioned though, Woven is certainly a pretty game and it has its own unique and fun aesthetic that reminded me of the likes of Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Yoshi’s Crafted World, with the world itself made up of an assortment of fabrics. It caught my eye throughout, and whilst it wasn’t always the most interesting world to explore, it was one I could appreciate visually. It even managed to look decent on the Nintendo Switch’s portable mode, though it is at a lower resolution that could make some areas of the game look a little fuzzy.
I wasn’t particularly blown away by Woven’s world and I did find the whole experience a little bit too simple in design, but the narrative, quirky puzzle design and pretty visuals did enough to keep me entertained during my time playing. That being said, it’s definitely a game that’s better suited for a younger audience who will find the premise more endearing and the lack of challenge more forgivable.
Still, if you’re after an adventure that’s whimsical and easy-going in design, Woven might be for you. It won’t do anything that’ll blow you away, but it’s a heck of a lot different to the other colourful puzzle-platformers available these days.
Developer: Altergo Games
Publisher: StickyLock Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Check out the official website through this link.