It may be sweltering hot outside, but the cool crisp breeze of fall is just over the horizon. With the arrival of Fall comes the big push of horror titles to fill the month of October. Through the Woods promises to be one of those games to fill the needs of digital thrill seekers looking for some frights. Developers Antagonist have recently released their PAX East demo of Through the Woods and I couldn’t resist in trying it out.
The demo starts with the main character making a declaration about needing to find her son, intrinsically giving the player all the motivation they need to travel into some dark and creepy woods. Controls are standard exploration mechanics. Players can walk, run, and crouch and are armed with a flashlight for illuminating the terrors of the night. The camera is a smooth over the shoulder perspective with a claustrophobic feeling zoom when using the flashlight. As the mother, you trek through sinister looking woods and soon stumble upon an abandon viking village. Looking through the village game me an uneasy feeling. This was impacted by the sound of creaking doors, rusted old artifacts, and scribblings about curses scattered throughout the village. The real scares started to come when dreadful shrieking started coming from the woods in front of me. Each time I stopped dead in my tracks and popped into a crouched position. I did later find the source of the shrieks, but I won’t spoil what it was. I will say it was jarring when I stumbled across it and it send a chill down my spine.
The game seem to be hinting at that whatever is happening in the game has origins in Norse mythology. I’m a big fan of folklore and the opportunity to explore folklore I’m not familiar with is always intriguing to me, especially if it’s the scary folklore. The preview only lasts for about 10 minutes, and doesn’t give any hints about mechanics or gameplay that will be in the full game. Despite this, the atmosphere is compelling enough for me to want to play more, even if it’s a linear experience as presented in this quick preview. Regardless, Through the Woods is going to be a title I’ll be looking out for this October.