When someone brings about fairy tales, we all imagine our childhood times, sitting around either in school or in bed and listening to whoever was reading us a story, our eyes beaming with excitement and our minds lost in the universe of the story. While there have not been a lot of game adaptations of these fairy tales, apart from the acclaimed Alice series, there have been cameos of a lot of heroes in these stories in other games. Woolfe takes everyone by storm, by reimagining one of the all-time classic fairy tales ever: Little Red Riding Hood.
The girl wearing the red hoodie is still good; the wolf is still bad, but in the middle of it all, there isn’t the sweet little girl who we thought we knew, but instead one who is seeking revenge at all costs. The game is basically a mix of 3D platforming, where it is not only a side scroller but there is actual depth to the game world with the ability to go sideways, and hack and slash. Being an early build of the game, made to show what is in the works and shown at Gamescom last August, combat was not implemented in the demo, and neither were combos or anything related to offense except for the actual attack commands. Which I tried and felt very powerful indeed, and spamming the keys around one really begins to drool over the torture one can inflict on the enemies once they actually appear in the game, apart from a poor little toy soldier who endured my countless attempts to create combos. There are two types of attack one can perform with the axe, being a flurry of light attacks or a powerful heavy one. They can be combo-ed too, releasing a number of light attacks to finish with a big heavy strike. Heavy attacks can also be combo-ed together, but their number is far more limited than the light ones, but starting with a heavy attack can really knock out the stuffing out of an enemy to then keep on bashing with light attacks until he is dead.
The platforming in the game feels good, mixing jumps and running at a fairly moderate pace. The game also features a sneak command, which hopefully will mean the inclusion of stealth kills and other sneaky stuff. Scattered around the levels are also baskets full of goodies, resembling the basket which Little Red Riding Hood took to her grandma. In the game, these baskets are checkpoints which have you respawn in that location upon death. Woolfe also gives the player to observe his immediate surroundings by moving the camera. While not travelling a lot, one can study what is around him and decide which approach to take, for example whether sneaking around is more viable than rushing in guns – in this case axe- blazing. The levels previewed, which as stated before are only test concepts and a lot of work is being done upon, were only three, but the variety of design is impressive; if the story manages to hold together and manage to create a link between all the locations, it will be one of the gems of this generation.
The levels open up with a girl narrating a story or setting the scene for the level. It is presumably the girl in the red hood who is reading, and the voice acting coupled with the script was amazing, hence my plead to the developers to make sure to expand the storytelling while keeping it like it is. It takes the game to a whole new level, and being for a little while in the shoes of the girl makes the game feel more human and get further into the story, and understand little by little her quest and what drives her to pursue her enemy.
Graphically, the game feels like a fairy tale in motion. The colours used and the art style, which resembles a lot water colour paintings fit the game well, and being a story upon which many drawings or paintings have been made, there could not have been a better choice aesthetically. Water effects may be a little off but there is still heavy restructuring in progress so one need not worry, especially at a relatively early stage like this. Music in the game is reminiscent of fairy tales, so you will most likely feel at ease with the background sound due to the countless times we’ve heard them before. As what regards sound effects, although limited for the demo build, they feel neat and accurate, at least for what I imagine an axe swung by a little girl full of rage that is.
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries has potential by the lots. The possibility of revisiting such a famous fairy tale in the shoes of the protagonist who is now all grown up and up for a fight is great. The game looks very well structured and the promise of further upgrades in terms of combos, unlockables, upgrades and other content has me drooling already.