The Path is…. weird. I was considering just not reviewing this game because normally it doesn’t look like good form to say “Fuck I don’t know” in a game review, but that’s basically my thoughts on The Path in a nutshell.
For those unaware, The Path was the first major title of the indie studio Tale of Tales. Tale of Tales is basically the equivalent of if Coda from The Beginner’s Guide actually existed and sold his games. This was a major issue I had with the first game they released, known as The Graveyard. The Path is an improvement over The Graveyard in that there is actual longevity and an overarching story to it. There is actual shit to do and some aspects that are almost kind of like a game. But The Path is not any more enjoyable to play than The Graveyard.
I will give credit that maybe The Path just isn’t for me and that there is some enjoyment to be gained out of it. I was not initially going to review The Path with the “Steam Greenlight Landfill” moniker because there is genuine depth to the story line for those that choose to look for it. But the problem is that the game itself does not offer much incentive to do so. The Path is slow paced, cumbersome, convoluted, and overall tedious all the way through, or at the very least for what I have played.
The story is meant to be a darker and edgier retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Instead of one girl walking down the path to Grandma’s house, there are now six of them. Each of them are told to go straight to Grandma’s house and to STAY ON THE PATH! Of course you need to stray from the path and wander into the forest to play the game. This makes for an intriguing premise as you expect it to be either a horror game or a story driven game, but the problem is in the execution.
The first major issue is that your character moves painfully slow. It’s to the point that walking on the path to Grandma’s house like the game asks takes multiple minutes to accomplish, and this is while holding down the run button. While you are walking normally you move at an absolute crawl and I would estimate that it would take at least five minutes to tread the entire path without the run command. What makes this especially egregious is that areas will often disable the run command for what I assume is emphasis but it it really only makes the game more tedious. The worst part of this is after one of the girls meets a wolf and they are dumped in front of Grandma’s house with the ability to run disabled. It takes a full minute just to walk inside the house and another to walk through it.
The most tedious part of the game though is wandering through the woods to find the wolf. Not only is movement slow even with the run command but you also don’t have a map available to look at with the exception of the one that pops up for a few seconds after you have traveled a certain amount of distance. Gameplay consists of picking up golden flowers off the ground and interacting with anything you come across in hopes that something happens. The game encourages you to find this stuff yet the player will likely end up ignoring it in favor of just trying to find the wolf to progress the plot.
The few bits of story that you get with this game are the only reason that anyone likes game, and I can understand why that is the case. The scenes with the wolves and at the house afterwards tell some interesting stories and make for some of the few moments where The Path is truly engaging. There is genuine depth to this game’s story both in regards to he lore scattered throughout and the few scenes you see. I do think it is quite interesting how the “wolves” each take the form of a danger that each of these young girls face and thus takes a different form. I do appreciate the fact that there was a lot of effort into weaving this narrative together but I simply cannot recommend the game itself.
The Path is basically Yume Nikki except in 3D and with 1/10th of the walking speed. This concept really could have worked if gameplay wasn’t so unbearably slow and plodding but that is sadly not the case. When your game costs $10.00 at full price, there is not much of a justification for requiring an additional fee in the form of the tediously slow gameplay.
I am unlikely to cover any more of Tale of Tales after this one because their later games are mostly the same from what I heard. It’s clear they just aren’t for me and thus future reviews will consist of me repeating myself again and again. I do think that any enjoyment that others got out of this game’s narrative is perfectly valid (although it would be even if I didn’t think so), but It still just stands that The Path is a bad game. This is what happens when you stray from the path of entertainment after all, and Tale of Tales shows no sign of returning.
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