One of the many successful Kickstarter projects of 2014, Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries is a 2.5D platformer with a dark story based around fairy tales and featuring an axe-wielding Red Riding Hood as the central character. The Kickstarter campaign’s success was probably thanks as much to the gorgeous concept art as it was the promise of the game. Time has passed, the game itself has had more work and is now available on Steam Early Access, which is what this preview is based on. Launching in mid-March, there’s still time left to improve a great deal.
Surprisingly, the first game that comes to mind when starting to play is Dishonored. Opening in a city, the dilapidation, the suffering of the population, the dark overlord all seem reminiscent. A dystopian city isn’t the most interesting, but even with that first setting in mind, the sheer gorgeousness of the concept art is immediately obvious in the game. Characters are incredibly well-designed and that attention to detail spills into the ongoing narration Red offers throughout.
Gameplay is old fashioned, with both the negative and positive connotations that brings to mind. Perhaps the most obvious recent suggestion for how it plays are the Scarecrow sections of Arkham Asylum and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. It is a platform game though, and a quite pedantic one. Instadeath abounds.
It’s wrong to point out many flaws at this point though. It needs, and frankly deserves, a ridiculous level of polish that isn’t present. [Although walking into an area to be greeted with in-universe wooden signs saying “Boss Fight Under Construction” is a lovely touch]. Whilst it’s not to recommend in the current state, unless you want to support development, if the required level of polish is applied and the final game is a smooth and satisfying tour of the art and story the team have created this could still be something very special indeed.
Keep an eye on Gamestyle for the full review when the completed game is available!