Wytchwood Trailer Breakdown Reveals a Quirky Magical Adventure Game - VRGyani News and Media

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Wytchwood Trailer Breakdown Reveals a Quirky Magical Adventure Game

Whitethorn Games has a clear mission for the games they publish, succinctly encapsulated by their Instagram bio: “Low-stress games for nervous people.” I laughed when I first read it, partly because it’s quaint and unassuming, but also because it was humorous to think that “nervous people” would specifically need an entire genre of gaming devoted to them. But as I thought about it, and the uncomfortable truth that as I age I draw ever-closer to this classification, I settled on a greater appreciation that the audience for such low-key experiences is more than likely immense.

From that desire to produce such games, Whitethorn has teamed up with developer Alientrap Games on the upcoming Wytchwood. Described as ”a crafting adventure game set in an expressive land of gothic fables and fairytales,” your role is that of “the mysterious old witch of the woods,” and are tasked with wandering the countryside collecting magical ingredients to brew your sorcerous concoctions.

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As you’re doing that, you will “pass your twisted judgment upon a capricious cast of characters and creatures,” changing people into animals and levying curses against those who oppose you. You are also attempting to help the Witch find her way out of “a dark pact she can’t remember making.” In other words, you will basically be Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus, sans sucking the life from innocent young children. Nowhere does it say that sucking the life from young children isn’t in the game, but I am presuming such an ability rarely mixes well with “low-stress” environments.

Alentrap recently released the first gameplay trailer for Wytchwood. From the opening moment the Witch rises from her red armchair, you already feel a part of this world. Before scurrying out into the wilderness, we get a glimpse of the Witch’s house—bookshelves overflowing with books and trinkets, scattered candles, and a cauldron (duh!) sits at the room’s center. We then watch the Witch collect various ingredients from around some beautifully-rendered wilderness while donning an upside-down cauldron atop her head --witches are nothing if they aren’t resourceful. After collecting what she needs, it’s time to jump into a menu to brew some “Apothecary Humors.”

What exactly are “Apothecary Humors,” you ask? They are described as “liquid life, as proven by modern medicine.” That one of the ingredients listed is “Blood” makes me encouraged where this game is going. Then I see that there is an item called “Bottled Fear” and I get the impression that Alientrap and Whitethorn know precisely the kind of vibe a game like this should have.The positive feeling I was getting became stronger when I saw the Witch in conversation with the Goat—a goat who is busy “sensing the first four Souls we seek.” Now, we’re talking.

After getting the marching orders from the goat (I love that I am able to type that), we see the Witch travelling across various locales of this fairy tale world, ranging from swamps and crop fields, to what appears to be a kind of hospital run by a creature that looks like a cross between a plague doctor and one of the colored tentacles from Maniac Mansion. Upon entering the field of crops (and the Witch doing something to them), the “Vegetal Farmer” welcomes her to his homestead. The Witch responds with a “Howzit growing, farmer?” If what we are looking at here is a quirky game about folklore with talking goats and bad farmer puns, I am so unbelievably in.

After seeing a dog (?) with a skull hovering over its head—maybe it’s poisoned?—the Witch punches a chicken in the face to retrieve an egg and this immediately became one of my favorite upcoming games. Then comes the “Zombie Husband,” whose greeting is an eloquent “B-gggYAUHH?” Ghosts wander around a haunted mansion, and then “Black Sheep”—a literal black sheep who looks like was pulled straight from Pan’s Labyrinth—fears you have been sent by The Ram to “finish him off,” and then laments that he knew he “couldn’t trust that Gargoyle to keep a secret.” Guys, I can’t even.

This felt like someone asking if you want ice cream, then if you’d like sprinkles and hot fudge, then if you’d like a rocketship. It just kept getting better. The art design is beautiful, too. The creators define it as a “lovingly rendered storybook art style.” The character portraits, even in a brief trailer, make these characters live in ways that I am not sure they would otherwise.

Despite all of the “evils running about unchecked,” Ariane Laurence, artist designer at Alientrap, mentions in a PlayStation Blog entry that “Wytchwood is fundamentally a chill game, where exploration and collecting spell ingredients play a huge part of the experience.” During that exploration, each location will feature its own set of “critters, plants, and monsters.” In other words, low stress for nervous people.

What might be the defining aspect of Wytchwood is that within its world are embedded a number of classic fairy tales. The description given by Alientrap is broader than committing to only those literary classics, though: “Explore an allegorical world of tall tales, uncovering colourful personas and fantastical narratives.”

We see a large wolf—named “Wolf” naturally—pursuing a small, red-hooded character, and then we see the Witch run through a lavish hall with a woman in a glass coffin at the end. It doesn’t take a brilliant viewer to figure these are probably renditions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Snow White,” but what forms they may take, and how they fit into the overarching story of Wytchwood are questions that remain unanswered. Also unanswered is how many of these tales exist in the game, and are they a driving force in the narrative, or just small corners of this lush world full of “capricious characters?”

I can’t wait to find out.

Wytchwood is set for release Fall 2021, and will be available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Watch the full gameplay trailer for Wytchwood below.

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