Through the Forest with the Beast

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Things that go bump in the forest, November 20, 2022

Through the Forest with the Beast is a fifteen minute branching Twine game by someone who, as far as I can tell, is a first-time IFComp entrant. The premise is simple - youíre a person who has been revealed as a dangerous Beast and cast out by their village, and must navigate the dangerous forest between you and a safe haven. Thereís several different paths through the game in classic CYOA style, and you have to manage various stats (health/stamina/hunger/thirst) during your journey.

What I Liked

TTFWTB immediately makes a good impression - it has a gorgeous background (possibly drawn by the author?) and ambient forest sounds that really set the mood. (Bonus points for the text being easy to read!) The choices come thick and fast and have immediate consequences - each can take you a number of surprising places, and thereís no cheap instadeaths. Where this game really shines, though, is the experience it gives you of slowly discovering the forest, its inhabitants, and the truth about what makes you a Beast. Iím a huge sucker for sci-fi/fantasy blending and this game does it well.

What I Didnít

The writing in TTFWTB could use some work. There were several grammar issues, and overall the writing felt too rushed - like it was trying to cram too much detail into too little space. There were a lot of good descriptions, but they come at you rapid-fire with no room to breathe. Some playtesting and/or editing would have been good here. On the gameplay side, stat management ended up being frustratingly out of my control. Itís hard to tell which of your choices will restore which (if any) stats, and at least once I died of dehydration due to no fault on my part.