Play gameThe Forest Path's itch.io page
Ranked from 11 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.
Judge feedback is anonymous.
When ya walk down the path less traveled by, ya never know where you'll end up. Well, in Kangra's The Forest Path, it's on YOU to make sure you end up where you're supposed to, cuz if ya don't it's a time paradox and blip~ reality is irrevocably shattered! Space-time is a harsh, fickle mistress.
The Forest Path has two distinct sections of gameplay: a verbose visual novel that takes you through a creepy forest filled with weird happenings, and a second UFO-piloting section where ya make sure all the weird stuff that happened to you in the first part actually goes down. This narrative-gameplay conceit is the heart of this entry, and I think it's a super interesting premise! Avoiding temporal paradox by recreating past experience through gameplay is clever as heck, and I thought the reveal worked well. It's neat to see actions taken in the first part play out in the second, especially when there's a variety of ways to handle them satisfactorily such as stunning, distracting, or tossing the wolf away.
Music and sound effects felt necessary here, and it's a pity there was only a few implemented for the UFO gameplay. With the VN section slowly building up tension, it would have been great to hear nature ambience interrupted by unnatural howls and mechanical whirs to set the mood. Having interactions with the scenes themselves, IE hotspots to click on to notice details or to move forward, would help tie the visuals to the exploring which felt pretty disconnected and easy to skip over quickly.
If you read through all of the VN text it can take a while to get through and be quite difficult to remember what were significant actions that need to be acted upon. I'd have loved some sort of journal that wrote down major beats, which then gets directly referenced during the UFO section as what events need to be fulfilled. If ya do that, it makes it more obvious the actions are being remembered and gives a stronger connection to the two gameplay sections.
I badly struggled getting through the UFO piloting sequence, after repeated attempts I couldn't beat it until I completely restarted and took actions that gave a much shorter timer and less difficult events. I really appreciated the goals / info display, otherwise there was NO chance of me remembering the right actions to take heh, but its lack of checkpointing and the general slow pace of progress through the sequence (if you took your time and read through the text of the VN, which ya obviously want players to do) made it frustrating trying to fullfill past-tasks after repeated failure. At one point I had seconds left on a 5 minute clock, and suddenly the little duder inexplicably rocketed across the screen, bounced around, and finally jumped into the wolf's jaws giving me a Big Fat TIME PARADOX. Now that was funny, but needing to spend five minutes to get back to that point was a real bummer. Checkpointing on major event fulfillment or a time reverse would be majorly appreciated!
While the judging build feels pretty unfinished with some major bugs and impediments to progress, I did have a fun time exploring what's there. With some polish to help support the narrative beats and tightening up the gameplay of the UFO section, this would be very strong!
It's a photo-based VN where your choices don't seem to matter, until you realize that in Part 2, you have to go back and deal with them.
Describe how your game adheres to the theme
Time travel suggests you don't need to do part 2, since you already survived, right? Also there is an unnecessary portion of the game set in Soquel.
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