Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries Review
Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries Review
Despite nailing the environment and offering the seeds of an acceptable story, Woolfe falters in the worst way possible: it’s boring.
Posted: 06/28/15 | Category: Review | Developer: Grin | Publisher: Grin | Platform: Windows

Genre: Platformer Adventure 
Release date: March 17, 2015

Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries has a lot of things going for it. It taps into the modern-day fad of making everything darker and more sinister. It’s clear that GRIN Gamestudio had the right intentions throughout development and have set Woolfe up as a game to which to pay attention. Yet despite nailing the environment and offering the seeds of an acceptable story, Woolfe falters in the worst way possible: it’s boring.

Story
 

The Red Hood Diaries takes place in a dystopian city run by B.B. Woolfe, a neat rendition of the classic Big Bad. Red Riding Hood suspects him of orchestrating the deaths of her parents and is thus seeking justice for his crimes. Small revelations happen here and there, but nothing that you wouldn’t see coming. As Red traipses through the smog-spewing city she encounters another character from classic literature, but he fails to advance the narrative in any meaningful way.

The end of the game features the most interesting story moments, but even these fail to tap into the potential Woolfe had in development. The highlights of the story come from Red herself, who often has witty dialogue that helps make the frequent lulls passable.

Gameplay
 

Woolfe doesn’t deviate from established platforming conventions. Red can jump, grab ledges, sprint, and sneak. While the sneaking and platforming are fun, occasionally faulty elements mar the experience. One of the most frustrating aspects is Red’s inability to grab onto the shining ledges. In fact, I died so many times in one sequence that I ended up backtracking under the assumption that I’d missed something. I hadn’t. It was at this point that I reflected on the game’s tagline: “There’s nothing fair about it.” And after hopelessly throwing myself at the wall a few more times, Red finally snagged the ledge and we moved on.

Once Red finds her trusty ax, Woolfe becomes a full blown hack-and-slash. The combat isn’t bad but it quickly outstays its welcome, especially as it almost entirely replaces the much more interesting option to sneak. Red has horizontal and vertical strikes initially, but picks up a few additional physical attacks later in the game. These attacks, however, do little to revitalize the gameplay, and players will likely find themselves button mashing.

The majority of The Red Hood Diaries plays out in an extremely linear fashion. There are occasional secret locations and collectibles that can be found by exploring, but most exploration leaves you empty-handed. And despite the linearity, there are moments where the game opens up too much and provides little instruction about the correct path.

Conclusion
 

The decision to split Woolfe into two parts is a curious one to me. I was able to finish the first game in just under two hours, yet the story still felt as if it were stretched thin. As the first of two parts Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries needs to establish itself as something that players will want to come back to, not one they’re likely to forget. It’s not a bad game, per se, but with so much else out there, it’s certainly not a worthwhile one.

 
Grade: C-
 
Red's excellent dialogue
Beautiful environments and haunting score
 
Unrealized story
Boring gameplay
Frustrating platforming
 
 Logo
 
 
System Requirements
 
MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows 7 
Processor: Intel i5 2x 2.6 GHz, or AMD equivalent
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GT 640, AMD Radeon HD 6870/7750
DirectX: Version 9.0
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Additional Notes: Don't use the highest settings on a lower-end machine
 
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