IMPRESSIONS: Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries

Monday, February 16th, 2015

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Woolfe | Featured
Title Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries
Developer GRIN
Publisher GRIN
Release Date March 17, 2015
Genre Action/Platforming
Platform PC
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

There is definitely a trend lately for our culture to dig up old fairy tales and reimagine them in a new, often darker way. But as the protagonist observes in her ever-brooding monologue, Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries is “not a fairy tale–there’s nothing fair about it.”

Woolfe | Home BaseYou see, Red Hood was brought up by her father, Joseph Hood, until the day he died mysteriously working for the tyrant B. B. Woolfe. The incident was heavily covered up, but after learning survival and combat skills from her granny, Red is prepared to fight in order to learn the truth.

Woolfe | SewersThus begins the journey. Woolfe is one part platformer, one part combat. Personally, I find the platforming much more interesting. In the first level or two, it’s a matter of exploration, making your way around the city to uncover the path forward as well as secrets along the way. However, once you delve into the city’s dark underground–literally–it becomes a much more dangerous prospect, with traps and pitfalls everywhere.

Woolfe | CombatWhile this is implemented in a fun and interesting way, the combat is decidedly less so. Yes, you have a variety of moves, plus a meter that fills up as you fight successfully. But the different attacks don’t seem much more or less effective in any given situation, and it’s not even clear how the meter actually benefits you. Most enemies aren’t a real threat anyway, other than the rats that seem to dodge every attack.

Woolfe | Pied Piper FileIt feels a lot more rewarding to simply sprint and jump past most enemies, since there is really no incentive for fighting them anyway. Anything you might want to pick up is hidden in a specific place in the level–secret documents, concept art, and “Did you know?” pieces. Most of them are extremely well-hidden, so finding them is a more meaningful goal than finishing this short game. They also fit in well with the overall theme of investigating a hidden past.

For an Early Access game, Woolfe certainly has the appearance of a well-polished title, but in truth, it’s still in a stage of rapid development. There are some noticeable bugs, but with a built-in feedback area, it’s extremely convenient to bring opinions to GRIN. They seem to be putting out a new build about once a week, and post more often than that about the results of their feedback campaign. I find their commitment to testing and adjustment amazing. It’s likely that although the game is set to release on March 17th, many of the things I’ve observed will already have changed by then.

Whether you want to be part of the testing process now or wait until everything is complete, the price is still $9.99 USD. If you’re still on the fence, stay tuned–I plan to cover it again on official release.

Review copy supplied by publisher.

About Phil Schipper

Phil N. Schipper joined the Operation Rainfall staff to review Android games, but soon fell in love with writing news articles and Games of the Past. His dream is to make a living writing sci-fi and fantasy novels, which is why he leads the Obscure Authors Alliance in his free time. Still, even in his stories, which usually involve insane people, video games are one of his strongest influences. He describes himself as "a Mr. Nice Guy with a horrible, horrible dark side."