Road not taken

I like tend to gravitate towards pretty, whimsical games in my in my old age (with a strategic element). Games you can play wedged into your economy class seat between the window and the human Kaiju that is spilling over into your personal space.

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It’s at times like these that you need to get your mind out of its claustrophobic surroundings and into some mind-bendingly difficult puzzle solving (it also helps to distract you from the vibrating bulkhead and the strange change in engine pitch)

Enter…

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Don’t let its cutesy facade fool you. This is a fiendishly difficult game, whose challenge rating goes from mild to cripplingly difficult in less time than it takes to get to cruising altitude.

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The game is based loosely on Robert Frosts poem of the same name. You play a ranger whose job it is to find missing children (who get lost in a blizzard) Weirdly this happens every year… for fourteen years. You would think they would have had a town meeting about this by now!

339B1B7D-F080-4509-BAAE-3B4C308866FD.jpegAdditionally these bumpkins settled their town in a swirling ever changing labyrinth of puzzle terrain and angry spirits. Which makes your life that much more difficult.

Its not ‘Monkey Island’ left field (use the monkey to turn off  the waterfall) but the interactions between certain types of terrain isn’t necessarily logical, so your first couple of games are spent experimenting with what does what.

Things you figure out like…

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…smashing three flame spirits together equals an ax, are logged in your diary for easy reference.

It’s a little tough in the beginning to remember what does what, so I found myself having to consult my journal quite often. I also have a mind like sieve which doesn’t help.

Damn you, Baba Yaga! (I’ve been battling this nemesis since Quest for glory I)

‘Hut of brown, now sit down’. (Can’t remember my wife’s cellphone number, but I can remember how to make a cabin on chicken legs descend to ground level)

Road not taken is very pretty. If I have one criticism is that it is really, really difficult. If you are easily frustrated or just want a game you can mindlessly grind through this game is not for you. I also find it’s not the easiest game to come back to after a long absence because you have to relearn all the various interactions again. Still, I do find myself coming back and in a world of ‘done, done on to the next one’ (Foo fighters), that’s got to count for something.

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