Steam: A Wolf in Autumn
I get most of my games on Steam via bundles and specials, so pardon me if I’m a little late to this party.
So anyone that knows me knows that I love wolves. To me, wolves embody the wilderness. They embody what man left behind as we created civilization. They embody what we left behind when we became farmers instead of hunter-gatherers. They embody that which is always present. The wolf is my spirit animal. No matter how far I go, no matter how much I change, no matter who I meet, I will always have the wild within. The wolf is me. So when I saw a game titled ‘A Wolf in Autumn’ I had to get it. And it was on sale so… I snatched it up. Bonus points for being an environment game instead of… literally anything else. It’s a game you experience, which is why I’ll try to be as spoiler free as possible? Anyway on to the game.
So the game was made in Unity and it looks what would probably be a person’s first game. And it’s only through that kind of lens can I possibly justify a game like this. It’s a fair game, and it focuses on the story of a mother and her daughter. You presumably play as the daughter. The mother communicates with you through… walkie-talkies? I have no idea. Anyway you start the game in a shed. You break out (it’s stupidly easy to break out which breaks the immersion a bit) and your mom calls on the walkie-talkie to say get back in the friggin shed. But bonus points for her telling you “it’s for your own good”. Come on, that is like the cheesiest line ever. After we discover that our name is Autumn I realize that the title ‘A Wolf in Autumn’ is highly appropriate. See Mother Dearest thinks that she can control Autumn. She thinks she can cage her, keep her from exploring. But you can’t tame the wild. The wild is uncontrollable. It roars and demands to stretch its paws. So you play the game old adventure game style. There’s a lock under the guise of puzzles. There’s a key under the guise of solving those puzzles. Find the thing that fits the lock. Easy peasy.
It is at this point that I will tell you how I write these blog posts. What I do is I find a topic I want to cover and I write my thoughts down as notes for a while. When I think I’ve done enough to make a blog post, I commit this to writing. I press the publish button and BAM. Blog post on the interwebz. But then I read the blog post and ninja edit a couple things. Maybe I’ve left a few thoughts out, maybe I’ve got a typo, maybe I just need to reword something to make it more clear to the reader. In any case, the blog post that sticks is usually the blog post that is up about 15 minutes after I first publish. So why am I telling you all of this? Well to be frank this paragraph comes straight from my notes which I had to write because I was starting to get scared by all of the noises in the game. Every time I complete a puzzle I hear a damn buzzer which startles me every time. I scare easy ='(
Later we discover that Autumn has only one arm which makes some of the mechanics make a little more sense to me. So here’s my suspicion before I even finish the game. Autumn is a literal wolf. What we interpret as her hand picking things up and using them is really her picking things up with her mouth. I’m writing this prediction down before I finish the game.
Not too much later I get scared witless and soon finish the game (takes like 20-30 minutes). And it is now that I am left with a rather sombre expression because of the experience that I’ve had. It’s not a bad one and I’m still left with questions about the story, or about the point of it all. I still think that my wolf analogy from before is appropriate but I’m not sure that’s what the author had intended. I’m not sure if there are multiple endings but the author didn’t create a game I would really replay. To me, this game is a pause and think button. But it’s not done well enough to want to pause again and think again. That’s not to say that the experience wasn’t worth it. So here are my final thoughts:
I recommend this game but don’t go out of your way to buy it. I think it’s $2.00 on Steam? Wait for it to go on sale. I wouldn’t say that it’s worth the $2.00. Too short and I personally don’t feel that the game has enough focus on the story that it wants to tell. Of course anyone out there is welcome to prove me wrong and tell me their interpretation of the story, but if you decide to comment your interpretation and your post includes spoilers, please mind your manners and place a spoiler alert at the top of your post. I’ve purposely tried to keep this post spoiler free and since it’s such a short game you can see how much fluff this post has compared to the game itself. That said, if you’re really looking for an experience like this but with much better focus, story, characters, music, everything really, then I shall highly recommend To the Moon.