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‘Super Mario Kart’: Skill in Simplicity

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Mario Kart is a franchise often considered by fans to improve with each entry. In a sense, they aren’t necessarily wrong. The very nature of Mario Kart– the recycling of former tracks and the lateral development of core mechanics– signifies that the series understands how to logically improve itself while also catering to the attachment fans are bound to have to individual entries. Of course, this isn’t to say that each installment is inherently better than the last, but that Mario Karts gradual, game to game, improvements are ones rooted in a fundamental understanding of the core concepts at play.

Every kart need not be created equally, nor should they be; tracks should teach a player just as much as they challenge them; and controls should be tight and precise so that gameplay flows as naturally as possible at all times. These principles are as relevant today as they were in 1992 when Super Mario Kart originally released for the Super Famicom. Initially designed as a multiplayer counterpart to F-Zero’s single player focus, Super Mario Kart’s track design had to simplified in order to accommodate the Super Famicom’s hardware limitations. With two players actively playing on the same plane at once, Nintendo needed to show moderation with their level design.

Which, in itself, is quite the blessing. True creativity flourishes under limitation. While Super Mario Kart’s tracks are simpler than F-Zero’s on a surface level, they are by no means worse. The simplicity at play in any given track’s design is a massive boon in the game’s favor. Beyond simply twisting and turning or going with the flow of the race while trying to speed past other racers, Super Mario Kart placed an emphasis on a degree of dynamic gameplay that the racing genre had been lacking in 2D.

super mario kart

With simpler tracks comes shorter tracks which, in turn, result in a gameplay loop where players are perpetually drifting as turns come fast and frequent. Of course, the game does ease players in quite generously. Mario Circuit 1 in the Mushroom Cup effectively opens the franchise and does so with a grace. There are only five major turns per lap, allowing players the opportunity to learn the controls, understand the importance of drifting, and acclimate themselves with the use of items.

By Ghost Valley 1, the first cup’s third track, the safety net has more or less been removed as racers now have to deal with pits and tight turns with tighter curves. The early tracks showcase that although Super Mario Kart is easy to play, it is not easy to master. This is pushed even by the cc system. Split across three separate classes, the cc system determines how fast the game plays. In 50cc, karts move at their slowest possible fastest pace, allowing players quite a bit of time to think ahead and react; 100cc speeds up the pace considerably, highlighting the importance of quick reflexes; and 150cc ups the speed to its possible max, acting as a player’s final challenge.

While these are universal truths for the whole franchise, Super Mario Kart not only has its own design oddities, its brand of difficulty is quite different when compared to later entries. 150cc in particular, when compared to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s depiction of the class, is in a league of its own. There is next to no room for error in Super Mario Kart’s version of 150cc. What 200cc, a bonus mode, is for Deluxe, 150cc, the final intended tier of challenge, is for Super. Later entries in the series offer a bit of leeway when it comes to 150cc, but Super Mario Kart demands a master’s level of skill.

super mario kart

This is to say nothing of Super Mario Kart’s control scheme. There is a sensitivity to the kart’s movements, one that might not be noticeable on 50cc. In later classes, it becomes quite clear just how much control the player has and just how precise they need to be in order to maneuver properly. A genuine amount of skill is required to clear tracks in 100cc, let alone actually place well in 150cc. Super Mario Kart’s skill ceiling is far higher than any other game in the franchise, at least in terms of mandatory content.

Although it can be argued that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s 200cc class is the greater challenge, it is important to consider its nature as an additional mode. MK8 was not designed with 200cc in mind, only releasing after the fact in a free update. As a result, while 200cc is a greater tier of challenge, it is not a part of the core experience. Super Mario Kart, on the other hand, actively builds up to 150cc as the game’s end goal. Super Mario Kart isn’t truly over until players complete 150cc’s Special Cup. Which in itself speaks to how unique SMK’s role in the series is.

While, of course, every entry in the series is designed with a dedicated single player mode in mind, Super Mario Kart has its fair share of eccentricities to flesh out a solo player’s experience. For starters, CPU racers actually have their own, distinct items that cannot be used by the player (for the most part.) Bowser can shoot fireballs; Yoshi can shoot out eggs; and while players can also grab their own stars, Mario and Luigi both have their own unique stars to trigger when in a pinch.

super mario kart

This may seem like a trivial distinction, especially considering how later entries simply have the CPUs use their own set of items, but it’s a distinction that gives Super Mario Kart a very specific identity. CPU racers are not homogeneous and are, more often than not, actively antagonistic towards the players. They target racers with their own unique abilities meaning players can strategize around which CPUs are racing well. If Peach or Toad are doing particularly well, players know to look out for their poison mushroom, as touching it will shrink them and cause them to lose speed.

It may seem simple, and it is, but that simplicity is exactly what makes Super Mario Kart such an engaging racer. It doesn’t have the depth of its successors (both in terms of physical space and mechanics,) but it isn’t lacking in depth either. Rather, Super Mario Kart’s depth comes from what could be done with the Super Famicom’s 2D space. In fact, SMK is almost arcade-like in its design when compared to later entries, Mario Kart 64 especially.

The shift from 2D to 3D for Mario Kart was an important one as it marked a definitive end to Super Mario Kart’s very specific formula of gameplay. While the series would briefly return to 2D with Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the franchise would never quite again center itself the way it once did during the Super Famicom era. This is not to say that later entries stray away from some gold standard that the original game set, but that Super Mario Kart’s arcade-like structure— the emphasis on progressing difficulty, CPUs using set abilities that can be planned around, and reflex based gameplay that depends an understanding of each track— was never quite revisited with the same fervor.

super mario kart

In changing so little between console generations, Mario Kart changed so much. It goes to show just how different 2D and 3D game design can be. Mario Kart 64 is more or less a perfect interpretation of Super Mario Kart in a 3D space. All the core concepts translate well, creating a racing game that lives up to the spirit of the original while taking advantage of a 3D plane. At the same time, the shift to 3D meant that certain 2D sensibilities wouldn’t necessarily work. Or at the very least, were no longer necessary in any sense.

A 3D plane allows players to interact with the space with more freedom. As a result, turns, while certainly tight, are inherently less demanding. There is more room for error just on a geometric level. This doesn’t make either style worse or better, but it does create quite a difference. It’s also worth noting that Mario Kart 64 is difficult in its own right, and compares better in challenge to SMK than other entries in the series. At the same time, is isn’t as difficult nor is it difficult in the same ways. Super Mario Kart’s challenge relies staunchly on just how much Nintendo expected its audience to master the mechanics at play.

Mario Kart as a whole tends not to carry a skill heavy label, but the franchise is rooted in a need for skill. It’s important to consider not just how a title’s core mechanics work, but how a game is structured. 50cc may as well be a borderline tutorial given just how much 100cc ups the difficulty in Super Mario Kart. 150cc isn’t even playable until players conquer 100cc, meaning that it genuinely is the final challenge. One that needs to be earned; built up to. It’s an incredibly simple structure, but one unique to Super Mario Kart in all respects. Later entries offer 150cc from the get-go (rightfully,) and aren’t inherently designed with players tackling each cup in each class one at a time to better themselves.

super mario kart

In that sense, Super Mario Kart is designed as a more traditional single player experience despite the fact that it was specifically designed with multiplayer in mind. But that, in itself, speaks to the changing of generations, the shift from 2D to 3D design sensibilities, and the very nature of progression within the medium. Why shouldn’t a modern, competitive racing game allow players access to every mode right from the offset? Logically, fans of Mario Kart want the full Mario Kart experience right away as expected from the eighth entry in a decades long franchise. That’s the thing, though, Super Mario Kart was its own, new beast entirely, unburdened by fan expectations.

Without anything other than F-Zero to look back on for inspiration, Super Mario Kart was essentially creating the modern kart racer, a genre still alive to this day— albeit primarily through Mario Kart itself. Naturally, no first step is going to be completely refined and will often feature its fair share of oddities. Along with the aforementioned qualities more or less exclusive to the original, Super Mario Kart was also home to: perpetual split screen due to a mini-map that took up half the screen even when playing alone; item blocks that would only respawn after every single block on the track was triggered; and five tracks split into five laps each for the available cups.

Since item boxes wouldn’t just respawn at the end of a lap like in later titles, players either had to use their items strategically or alter their course to seek boxes once they started dwindling. What seems like a design oversight on Nintendo’s part actually lends itself to a more dynamic style of racing. Items aren’t a given, they’re a legitimate luxury the longer a race lasts. As races are five laps long, it can be nerve wracking to miss that one remaining box all while knowing that CPUs have their own unique items they can call upon at any given moment. It’s quite the stressor and it makes sense why Nintendo would fine-tune item boxes (technically item panels in Super Mario Kart,) but it nonetheless makes for gameplay loop unique to SMK.

super mario kart

The mere fact that laps and tracks are both longer than average when compared to the successor games is also worth noting. Cups in Super Mario Kart feel like endurance matches where the tides can and will turn from lap to lap. Of course, five laps and five tracks are done mainly to mask just how short some tracks are, but even Mario Circuit 1 is long enough where a genuine back and forth is bound to happen. Once players hit 150cc, chaos naturally erupt and each race turns into a battle to not just reach first place, but stay in it. Carelessness is relentlessly punished at every literal turn.

Which, frankly, is what makes Super Mario Kart so engaging twenty-odd years after the fact. Super Mario Kart is a game so clearly limited by its hardware and by its genre’s infancy where it might make mistakes that seem obvious at a first glance. At the same time, these “mistakes” more often than not lead to creative solutions and outcomes which allow SMK to flourish in a way completely specific to itself in the context of the greater Mario Kart franchise. There have been decades of Mario Kart games since, but Super Mario Kart remains in a class of its own.

An avid-lover of all things Metal Gear Solid, Devil May Cry, and pretentious French lit, Renan spends most of his time passionately raving about Dragon Ball on the internet and thinking about how to apply Marxist theory to whatever video game he's currently playing.

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‘Garden Story’ First Impressions: The Coziest of Adventures

Long-awaited Twitter darling Garden Story just released its first demo. Here’s what we learned after playing through it twice.

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Following the unfortunate (but understandable) delay of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there’s been a distinct lack of chill, aesthetic games to fill the void. Garden Story’s charming environmental art and animation have earned it a dedicated social media following, but it wasn’t until Picogram released a demo just a couple days ago that anyone with a Steam account could actually experience the game for themselves. So, just how fun is this wholesome little RPG?

Setting the Scene

Garden Story’s demo centers around the newly-appointed village guardian Concord (a grape) and their first steps in rebuilding Autumn Town, a community ravaged by a sinister force known as “the Rot.” Chatting with villagers reveals a bit of insight into the situation at hand; it’s soon clear just how much the other townsfolk need the player’s support.

There are several clear parallels to old-school Legend of Zelda titles here, but Garden Story manages to set itself apart rather quickly. For one, this isn’t a solo adventure; the player sets out with Rana (a frog) and Fuji (a tomato) on a friendly quest to be as helpful to the surrounding community as possible. Seeing friends around and watching cute scripted cutscenes between the crew does a great job of instilling a sense of camaraderie and friendship.

In another pleasant twist, everything here is themed around building rather than destroying. Instead of traditional swords and bows, Concord repurposes his dowsing rod and scavenging pick into makeshift weapons. The combat itself calls to mind Stardew Valley; simple, minimal, and clearly not the main focus. There’s a pesky stamina bar that restricts the number of times Concord can attack and how far they can run, frequently forcing players to pause between barrages. In this way, encounters often come off as more of a necessary evil in Concord’s town rehabilitation journey than a main attraction.

Rebuilding a Community

So, how does one go about aiding the town? The method highlighted in the demo was by attending to a quest board with three different types of requests: Threat (combat), Repair (exploration), and Want (gathering). Each is accompanied by a task that plays an integral part in keeping Autumn Town safe and in good working order (e.g. clearing out Rot, finding sewer access so new resources can flow into town, and so on).

Aside from fulfilling requests, there are a few interesting hooks to incentivize hitting every shiny thing you come across regardless. The more different types of items are scavenged, and the more catalogues are filled by being updated with new materials, the more literature becomes available to give little bits of insight into Garden Story’s world and history. Then, in another parallel to Stardew Valley, any leftover resources can be sold in the pursuit of buying tool upgrades.

While the full game will feature four locations to explore and tend to, there was still plenty to do in Autumn Town itself by the end of the demo. Rana mentioned that villagers will post new requests daily, and the demo even featured a mini side quest (called “favors”) that led me to obtain a brand-new tool. Between daily requests, favor fulfillment, and dungeons spread across four different regions, it’s looking like there will be a good bit of content here for those who really want to hang around Garden Story’s world for as long as possible.

Ambient Appeal

Though it remains to be seen just how enticing its complete gameplay loop and accompanying systems are, Picogram’s latest is already delivering on its core appeal: being a cozy, relaxing experience. The color palette is soft, the lighting is moody, and the soundtrack is right up there with the Animal Crossing series as having some of the most mellow, loopable tunes around.

In fact, it’s the sound design in particular that gives Garden Story such an intimate feel. From the sound of a page turning when entering and exiting buildings to the gentle gurgles of a bubbling brook in the forest, it’s clear that composer Grahm Nesbitt poured a ton of love into making this one feel just right. Here’s hoping the full game more than delivers on all the potential shown here.

Garden Story is slated to release in Spring of 2020 and is available to wishlist on Steam.

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How Asynchronous Online in ‘Death Stranding’ Brings Players Together

Hideo Kojima’s latest game creates a sense of community by aiding other players on the same perilous journey.

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Death Stranding

Video games have always been fascinated with the idea of player interactivity as a means of crafting a power fantasy. The player typically goes on a hero’s journey, eventually culminating in them being the one and only savior of the world inside the game. Typically associated with single-player games, MMOs also crafted that same narrative but with the conceit that everyone is going on this journey. Often the acknowledgments of other players are in multiplayer-specific features such as PvP and Raids. Destiny is a great example of a series that takes players on the same journey and makes no promise that the story is different between players by even allowing them to engage in playing story missions together. It all feeds into the larger narrative of Guardians fighting together to save the Light. A game that handles this very similar and perhaps more successfully is Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding.

While lacking any direct player-to-player interaction, Kojima’s latest game is drenched in the conceit that community is crucial to triumph over adversity. You can read many articles about the game’s ideas of community from fellow writers on the site. What hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves is how revolutionary Death Stranding feels in terms of utilizing asynchronous online to greatly affect the game itself. Games like Dark Souls and other FromSoftware titles have included the ability to leave notes (which Death Stranding also offers) that help (or trick) players as they venture throughout the world on their own. How those notes’ effects are manifested are often on a much smaller scale – helpful at times but often to warn players of an impending way they might die. They don’t have a large impact on the player, only a temporary means of cheating death. 

Where Death Stranding becomes something greater in scale is in what it lets other players do to other peoples’ single-player experiences. In the game, you play as Sam Porter Bridges who is tasked with reconnecting America from coast-to-coast. At first, the game thrusts Sam into its narrative, taking the reluctant, isolated character and forcing him to eventually realize the importance of hope and connections in dire times. As Sam starts bringing more and more people onto the Chiral network (which allows instantaneous communication and the transferring of 3D-printable goods), so too does the game open up and reveal its ultimate goal: to bring players together.

Death Stranding

This doesn’t mean players will ever talk to other players, and the game very much avoids any real negative actions that can be performed on players. In fact, someone could play the game without ever actively engaging with online features. Instead, the game will passively hand out “likes” to other players whose ladders are used or roads are driven. If one wanted to fight the game’s narrative and instead keep Sam isolated and away from the community that the Chiral network provides, they could definitely do that – no matter how antithetical it would be to do so. Death Stranding even offers an offline mode that would nullify all of that and keep the experience solely on the player’s impact on the world and no one else’s. 

Yet there’s a reason the online mode is the default mode. It was near the end of Episode 3 (which also happens to be when the game unloads almost all of its mechanics onto the player) when I finally realized the impact I was having on other people’s games. I had spent an entire day playing the game, but focusing largely on delivering premium deliveries – these are optional challenges that essentially boil down to carrying more cargo, damaging cargo less, or getting to your destination in a set amount of time. Death Stranding doesn’t ever tell you the best way to get somewhere. Instead, it places a wide array of tools in front of you and assuming the Chiral network is set up in an area, it can provide a rough guide on places to avoid or infrastructure already built. However, one of the key pieces of infrastructure missing for my playthrough was roads. My efforts immediately became focused on building a network of roads that made their way all throughout one of the larger areas in the game.

The game doesn’t ever make you build roads. It tells you the option is there but it doesn’t force your hand. Often tools will be introduced, like zip lines and floating carriers, but the game never demands that they’re used. Of course, engaging with those tools will make your life easier. There are easy ways to start building infrastructure in Death Stranding: ropes and ladders can help to scale mountains or plummet depths. Those will remain in the world for other players to use and will even appear on their maps as they hook up areas to the Chiral network. So, someone who plays the game earlier than someone else could lay down ropes and ladders, and depending on when the other person starts playing, they will find those once they have progressed to a point where they are traversing that area. Where the game becomes even grander in its sense of community is the realization that the more players commit to building roads or setting up zip lines, the more other players benefit.

Death Stranding

The reality is that ladders and ropes are temporary – they cannot be rebuilt, they can only be replaced. The game’s Timefall – a weather phenomenon that acts as rain but ages anything it comes into contact with – can reset an entire map after a while if there is nothing more substantial placed on the map. So in my game, I decided that whenever I could build a road, I committed to doing so. This could mean going to multiple waystations and collecting materials that have amassed over time from deliveries, or going out in the world and finding these materials like Chiral crystals. At a certain point, I would load up a truck with multiple deliveries that were on or near the roads I had built, as well as with as many metal and ceramic materials I could load into the truck before it reached capacity. As I delivered packages, I’d replace them with more deliveries and more materials from each waystation. Eventually, I’d find myself at a point where a road was not built yet and would then build that road.

Community stands as the strongest component of Death Stranding .

In contrast to a game like Dark Souls, actions in the world such as providing notes on the ground or helping another player with a boss battle is helping them cheat death. The community that is being built is not one that has any lasting effect on the world in the game. No Man’s Sky may let players interact with each other and further their knowledge of the universe within the game, but often that help is relegated to an isolated planet. It’s a more contained impact. Hideo Kojima created a game where players don’t just build infrastructures for themselves, they can intentionally or inadvertently assist other players throughout their games. This leads to players like myself creating strand contracts with other players who have built things I liked in the game. A strand contract is a powerful feature because it means more of that players’ roads or other items built for the world will show up more frequently in my game.

Every Action in Death Stranding Creates Hope

One of the perks of building so many roads is you also get a lot of likes, whether passively given because someone used the road or actively provided by a player because they not only used the road but were appreciative that someone built it. It’s hard not to feel important in someone else’s life when you’ve made their experience less cumbersome because they no longer have to drive over rocky terrain or through enemy territory but instead can take a highway to their destination. What’s better is that more substantial developments like bridges and roads can be repaired by other players and even upgraded. So while I laid the initial roads down, I actually haven’t spent any materials repairing them. Instead, notifications come in and tell me players have repaired roads I’ve built. There’s no real reason to do that unless the infrastructure built was necessary to their journey through the game – making it easier but also providing the same feeling of helping out a larger community. 

Community stands as the strongest component of Death Stranding – a game that doesn’t even try to be subtle in its intentions. Traversing Kojima’s version of post-apocalyptic America is harrowing on your own. With just your two feet and a package to deliver when the entire world itself is trying to stop you from doing so, America isn’t just divided – it’s hostile. Where Death Stranding shines brightest is when it offers a helping hand. Players aid one another to achieve the same unified goal: save the country. All of this is under the assumption that the country can be saved, but there is no denying that seeing someone else’s rope hanging off a steep cliff, or a Timefall shelter where it rains Timefall on a constant basis, is one of the most satisfying feelings. In Death Stranding, it isn’t enough to know that you’re making progress, but that everyone is willing to assist others to reach the same end goal. It’s a game where every action creates hope and is built upon the idea that we are at our best when we work together.

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‘Woven’ Review: Comfortably Soft and Lumpy

Despite those blurry visuals and stilted gameplay, there’s something endearing about this innocent elephant’s adventure.

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With a sincere warmth and fuzziness that conjures up dreamy recollections of 3D games gone by, Alterego GamesWoven mostly overcomes its blurry visuals and technical jankery to somehow create a pleasant, old-fashioned experience. Those excited by modern gaming probably won’t give this lovable hand-me-down a second look, and perhaps they shouldn’t; extremely simple actions and soothing narration support a fairy tale quality that’s probably best suited to younger players. However, anyone willing to look past the well-worn exterior in search of a relaxing break from stressful button pushing may squeeze more fun out of this familiar stuffed toy than they might originally expect.

Woven tasks players with taking control of a meandering patchwork elephant named Stuffy, and guiding him through a sparsely populated knitted world that seems to have met an untimely demise. Because Stuffy has cotton for brains, he is assisted on this journey by a much smarter metal firefly named Glitch (a reference to his role in this story?), who floats alongside the curious-but-clumsy plush toy and provides hints as to how he can use his various abilities. Together, this odd couple will traverse open plains blanketed with colorful yarn grass, maneuver around impassable felt trees and plants, and hopefully discover the secret of where Stuffy’s clueless kin have all gone.

Along the way, the duo will walk great distances (often without much event), solve the occasional environmental puzzle, and generally just keep on keepin’ on.Woven is mostly straightforward in its campaign, merely about getting from point A to B by whatever means the path requires. Most often this involves finding new blueprints that allow players to change Stuffy’s design from an elephant into a wide variety of other animal shapes, each with a set of abilities that come with a new set of arms, legs, and a head. For instance, while the stocky (and adorable) bear can push plush boulders and perform a mighty stomp, the goat and frog can both use their legs to hop, while the kitty cat is able to push buttons on rusted consoles that activate dormant machinery.

However, these abilities are usually only able to activate when context-sensitive prompts from Glitch appear, so don’t expect some sort of platforming freedom. Woven handles a bit clumsily in that regard and others; strolling is definitely the order of the day, as long as Stuffy doesn’t get hung up on the geometry.

But these actions do help provide variety; a tropical bird of some sort (toucan, maybe?) can sing certain notes, while a pelican-thing can fly (sort of) over land and shallow water with great speed. And so, it often becomes necessary in Woven to alter Stuffy’s look with a total reweave. These designs can be applied at various sewing machine-like stations scattered about, which go a step further than just swapping Stuffy the deer for Stuffy the ape. Each blueprint is comprised of five parts, allowing for players to create a Frankenstein Stuffy made up of all the best abilities the player has on hand (or cushioned paw). By mixing certain sets, Stuffy will soon be able to scale mountainside crags, cross piranha-filled rivers, and pick up industrial cogs without the need to make a pit stop and bust out new needle and thread.

Some truly hilarious (or horrifying, depending on your sensibilities) aberrations can be created; seeing Stuffy hobble on hooves as he flaps a wing on one side and swings a muscular gorilla arm on the other, all with the head of a squirrel, is freakishly entertaining. In addition, for those who like to wander off the beaten path, there are a plethora of knitting patterns to discover, tucked away in both obvious and devious locations (and denizens). These cosmetic enhancements can also be applied at the sewing stations, essentially giving players seemingly endless amounts of customization. And these aesthetic changes even get in on the puzzle act every once in a while, especially when a pesky cobra shows up.

But outside the odd ‘connect the power line’ or ‘raise and lower platforms’ objectives, Woven doesn’t throw much at players that even young children shouldn’t be able to handle — and that seems to be the aim. Stuffy’s adventure lives or dies on its wholesome and serene vibe, which players either buy into or they don’t. There’s no combat here, very little to actually do outside hunting down those patterns, illuminating some painted caves, and activating some of Glitch’s ‘memories’ contained by machines hidden in the soft folds. Ongoing narration is pleasant to the ears, often conveying old-fashioned morals and cutesy jokes, but there’s no more story than in a classic fable.

And make no mistake — though the world is certainly bright and cheerful, it’s also quite fuzzy around the edges. The tactile nature of the cloth textures is lessened greatly by the low definition (at least on the Switch version), eliciting memories of the Wii-era. An increased crispness would have really made the world of Woven pop off the screen, perhaps luring in a larger audience who have become accustomed to such. There is still plenty of charm, but it feels like a missed chance at that true magical feeling the game seems to be shooting for.

Other stumbles come when certain worlds try to open up a bit more, which might lead a younger audience to get frustrated by the lack of direction (especially when they keep getting hung up on that geometry!); Woven definitely works better when it’s casually guiding players along, letting gamers of all ages envelop themselves in the easygoing atmosphere instead of requiring tedious backtracking. There’s just something nice about sitting back and relaxing to hummable music, watching the roly-poly amble of a stuffed kangaroo.

Woven will not be for everyone; those who play for challenge or eye candy won’t find either here. And yet, despite those blurry visuals and stilted gameplay, there’s something endearing about this innocent elephant’s adventure. Woven certainly has its share of lumpiness, but somehow remains cozy regardless.

‘Woven’ is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch (Reviewed on Switch).

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