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Road Not Taken Review

Road Not Taken Trainer
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Road Not Taken. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience.
 

Reviewed on: PC
Developer: Spry Fox
Publisher: Spry Fox
Rated: "E" for Everyone

 
CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki
Presentation 7/10 
It can be a bit unnerving once you find out that this game is about saving kids lost in a wintery forrest, but the visuals are charming enough that you'll likely forget about that pretty quick.
Gameplay 7/10 
At it's core, Road Not Taken is a throwback to some of your favorite puzzle games as it takes a lot of mechanics unabashedly, but it masks it with some pretty creative rouge-like elements to create an identity all its own.
Lasting Appeal 6/10 
A unique and fun puzzle game that has a lot to love, but it gets way too old, way too quick.
Overall 7/10 
The developers of Road Not Taken should be commended for attempting to take time honored puzzle mechanics and give them their own spin to create a unique and fun game. A commendable effort and a cool idea, it just wasn't realized all the way.
CHEATfactor 0/10 
 

Road Not Taken is a deceiving game by alls counts. It's cheery and storybook like look hides a dark secret — it's a game about helping dying kids in a wintery forrest. It's also a deceivingly simple game, as Road Not Taken takes time honored puzzle game mechanics and puts its own spin on them to create an identity all its own. Unfortunately the game suffers from some pretty repetitious issues and the game gets old quickly as a result. Still though, Road Not Taken is a game that you should at least experience, especially if you're a puzzle game fan.

"...it's a traditional grid puzzle game but to it's credit, it tries to be more."

 
   

In Road Not Taken, you assume the robe of the mysterious ranger, who lives on the edge of town. Year after year you venture out into the wilderness to save the children that haven't come home from their job picking berries as a storm approaches. It's a pretty adult theme for a game that looks so deceptively childish, but the strange visual style gives the game a fairy tale like feeling and it's almost even a bit easier to deal with some of the darker moments of the game.

At it's core, Road Not Taken is a traditional grid puzzle game but to it's credit, it tries to be more. Your ranger must move through the forrest, removing objects from his path to save the missing children. Controls in Road Not Taken are pretty simple, assuming you've played similar puzzle games, you just move in any direction on the grid and move up to an object to move it, but be warned, carrying any object uses up your strength and once that's all gone, the game is over. As a result Road Not Taken becomes about striking that interesting balance of timing and force, hoping that you're able to solve the puzzles and save the children before times runs out on either of you.

The real challenge in Road Not Taken comes from knowing how to handle everything you find in the wilderness. Everything, each rock, animal and plant has different priorities that can drastically effect your game. Moving one plant for instance can sprout a whole bushel wherever you move it and of course moving an animal as just as dangerous as you may think. You can also combine elements in an effort to help your quest, just be careful since not all combinations will help your goal. Road Not Taken features completely randomized levels, so each play through is different but thankfully the developers have equipped you with a notebook that retains the information you obtain on anything you encounter for future playthroughs.

"Even with all of this, Road Not Taken gets very repetitive too quickly."

 

Even with all of this, Road Not Taken gets very repetitive too quickly. Puzzles, as random as they're supposed to be, start to seem very similar with each play through and though you're able to play with combining different elements, the outcomes all start to feel the same. The game does feature a somewhat strange community aspect as the longer you'll play through you'll have the choice of staying mysterious or interacting with the village you've been protecting, even to the point of getting married. It's a nice addition, but it also feels like it's just been tacked on in an effort to give the game something different, and not thought through all the way. I would have loved to have even more combinations to play with then worrying about if I'm going to marry some village girl.

The developers of Road Not Taken should be commended for attempting to take time honored puzzle mechanics and give them their own spin to create a unique and fun game. It's core elements start to feel repetitive long before they should and as a result, Road Not Taken feels like a game that you're going to want to play for longer, that you should play for longer but you just have no reason to. A commendable effort and a cool idea, it just wasn't realized all the way.

 
 
CHEATfactor
 

As of this writing there are no cheats available for Road Not Taken. I'd love to see a debug like cheat that allows me to play with the properties of different elements and they're behaviors.

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