It’s a funny thing describing video games as art. Because every game is so categorically diverse, we invented terms to describe them – terms such as “rogue-lite,” “Metroidvania,” or, on a more simplistic end, platformers. While some games offer a breadth of stories, sweeping musical scores, or build characters with girthy backstories, there are some games that are just plain simple: go here, collect that, and arrive at a location – with a moderate idea why you are executing the task. This review’s game in question is definitely the latter. This is our review of Woodle Tree Adventures on the Nintendo Switch.
Originally released on Steam in 2014, developer Chubby Pixels brings the simplicity of Woodle Tree Adventures to the Nintendo Switch. The concept goes a little something like this: you play as a nameless, stumpy (literally) child of a Great (Mustachioed) Tree. He is very concerned with the dryness of the world and sends you out to collect Faerie Tears in order to bring a blessing of hydration back to the world. Oh yeah, and to collect berries.
The game does not burden you with pesky details like how the Faerie Tears are going to help or what a tree stump needs fruit for or, more importantly, what made these faeries product such huge tears in the first place. Maybe they are sad that world is dry, too… or that they don’t have enough fruit. Maybe fruit makes them cry… could it be allergy season?
Woodle Tree Adventures has as basic a gameplay premise as a game can get. Each level has the aforementioned collectables (and potential Ben & Jerry’s flavor): berries and tears. As you collect both, you unlock new worlds to explore and upgrades to your leaf – a weapon bestowed upon you by the Great Tree. In total, there are five main levels with two you can unlock after collecting 500 and 600 berries as well as four upgrades – three for your leaf and one nifty ninja headband.
The game is much like your character’s design: short, but whimsical. The game has a childish innocence to it that is a good reminder that every game doesn’t need gruesome monsters or deep plots to be enjoyable. While imperfect, Woodle Tree Adventures creates a space for burgeoning gamers with its child-like charm.
Speaking of imperfections, Woodle Tree Adventures has two major flaws. The fixed camera angle makes some of the jumps incredibly difficult, leading to more untimely deaths than you might imagine. While I am no noobie to platformers, this made some jumps excessively challenging. The good news on this front is that Woodle Tree Adventures is very forgiving. All of the progress that you made in collecting the collectables is saved, but you may need to restart the level from the beginning or a checkpoint. The game isn’t very clear what constitutes as a checkpoint though.
My second major complaint has to do with the enemies themselves. In the very first level, you encounter an enemy that, when attacked, berated you for trying to attack it. This sets up an awkward situation for the player. As this particular enemy is not much outside of the first level, there is a lingering doubt when it comes to new enemies that appear, leaving you an unwittingly woebegone Woodle.
In summary, Woodle Tree Adventures is a quirky adventure that doesn’t require a whole lot of brain space to figure out or enjoy. This is the perfect companion to catching up on podcasts or to fostering a love of gaming in young gamers. At $4.99 USD, Woodle Tree Adventures is a small investment for a tiny adventure with an adorable chibi log.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Mid-90s platformers, 3D Mario titles
FINAL WOODLE TREE ADVENTURES SCORE: 7/10
- Simple concept and gameplay
- Cute aesthetic with a whimsical atmosphere
- Great game for young kids
- Enemies seem inconsequential, occasionally misleading
- Leading cause of death: fixed camera