With Road Not Taken, Spry Fox has developed a game that will transport you into a dark magical frozen world where giant bears, floating spirits, and other spooky things go bump in the night. You play as a forest ranger with the ability to levitate objects and throw them across the environment. Hired by the town’s Mayor, it is your duty to retrieve the children from within the forest.
Don’t let the creatively crafted characters and colorful environment fool you, Road Not Taken will not be a breeze to finish. This game will be challenging to even the most expert puzzle solvers. Limiting your levitation powers, your energy is depleted every time you try and move an object or fighting evil spirits and wild animals in the forest.
With procedural levels, every time you play the game, you will experience something new. After 15 years of service, your forest ranger will retire, but trust me, you will definitely die many times before that milestone is reached. There are checkpoint shrines scattered throughout the map for every year, allowing you to reload from the last shrine you checked into. If you checked into the shrine on the 5th year and not the 6th or the 7th, when you die on the 8th year you start back at the 5th year. Better than starting from the 1st year I suppose, so go look for those shrines, and remember to have something to offer.
The game is just not only about lifting objects and saving the children. You are also tasked into managing your relationship with the townsfolk. After successfully rescuing children, you are given a reward by the Mayor and you are brought back into the town, where you can interact with the citizens. Sharing your rewards with the people in town can yield you with powerful items or charms that you can use in the forest. But be careful, giving too much attention to one person might be hurting your relationship with other people in town.
Helping you on your quest, components you come across can be combined to create necessary items. These items can increase your energy or help you fend off evil enemies. For example, throwing a racoon into a fire will generate raccoon stew, which will increase your energy. Or when you encounter a dark spirit that is chasing you, try throwing a white spirit at it and see it transform into a log. Combining two logs together and you will have fire. Be careful not to over craft, as using all your resources will deter you from moving into the other parts of the map. This means the inability to rescue all the children for the year.
There are so many items in the game, that the game tracks them all in your own diary. Everything you encounter in the forest gets logged in it, making it a good reference for crafting items.There isn’t any search function, forcing you to scroll through pages and pages to find specific items.
Road Not Taken is a game that you should not take lightly. It is a challenging puzzle game with big cuddly scary teddy bears, little white rabbits and scary Witches. It is hours of fun and frustration. Thanks to the shrines, you are able to stop at any point and come back later to pick up where you left off.
Note: The Road Not Taken review was written based on a digital PC version of the game.