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Pathless Woods Preview

Pathless Woods Preview

Games under the open-world survival crafting label often struggle to separate themselves from the pack within the genre. For a title to stand against games like Minecraft, Terraria and even Don't Starve, it needs some wow factor to help draw in customers. I recently tried out AniYa Games Studio’s newest title, Pathless Woods, which just entered Early Access. 

Pathless Woods is set in a world based on ancient China’s heritage, focusing on Chi, the spirits, and survival. You take the role of an adventurer who needs to slowly build up their technology, manage their body, and build relationships to survive in this world. Like many crafting games lately, there is an overarching plot, but it's more a reason to explore the world than anything else. One interesting design choice is that you can skip the missions, so ones that require you to build set things can be avoided if you so choose.  

Speaking of crafting, arguably the most important part of the game, it’s pretty simple to understand: all you need to do is open the crafting menu and select the tool. Meanwhile, if you want to build structures, select a different menu that lets you place each of the walls, ceilings, etc. Putting the buildings together is pretty simple, and you can use the mouse wheel to spin the walls. However, the perspective can be strange, and the buildings don’t always line up perfectly.

You discover new building and tool “recipes” by finding specific materials. For instance, when you find a chicken beak, you’ll unlock all the items associated with that resource. It’s not my favourite way of doing things, simply because it can be a bit hard to know what you need to find for the item you want to craft. 

The final aspect of gameplay is the pseudo-community element that has you meet people out in the world. For instance, I had just cleared out a small bandit camp and happened to rescue a young woman. I could talk to her, and while her conversation was pretty basic, I asked her to join me in my adventure. From what I understand, you will be able to gather quite a large community around you over time, and they can farm and build. Unfortunately, I didn’t happen to meet any other people during my adventure but I can see how this could be expanded upon in time.

There is combat in the game, but it's pretty simple. You use a weapon and click on the enemies to make their health go down. There are no special moves or combos, and your physique is the only thing that really affects combat, although you can increase your physique over time with good food and from fighting. Each creature in the world has different Chi ratings that impact how much your physique will increase when you eat it. Honestly, it can be a little unclear, but the best way to think of it is as different experience values. The only real thing the levels are used for is the odd altar that you need to move around to clear an evil fog in an area. 

Pathless Woods's use of Chinese mythology and style helps to make it stand out. All of the buildings and animals have a specific design and the monsters are impressive when you see them out in the distance. The music, meanwhile, is pretty chilled out and thematic enough but it’s not exactly a headbanger.

Pathless Woods was fun and relatively easy to pick up and play, but I found my interest wavered pretty quickly. I never found that “thing” to keep me coming back, even with the promise of building up my own community. I think the game needs an initial hook that players need to complete over time to keep them invested and give them a reason to really explore the world. 

Joshua Render

Joshua Render

Staff Writer

Became a writer and all he got was this lousy bio

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