In Night in the Woods you play as Mae, a college drop-out who returns to her hometown after two years at college. For anybody who’s ever been homesick, or who’s come back home after a year at college and felt that everything just feels a tiny bit different, this one’s for you. NITW perfectly captures the feeling of nostalgia, letting you roam around Mae’s hometown catching up with old friends and talking to her family. There’s a grander plot at play here, but this game is at its strongest when it connects to that base yearning for a time gone by. Time has passed by in their little town while Mae was away, and Mae herself is a different person. It’s these moments of humanity that the game does so well, aside from the mystery surrounding their town.
You can roam around the town and find out what’s changed since you’ve been gone and talk to neighbors. The best part of the game is playing little vignettes– little bits of story that let you hang out with whichever one of your friends you want to spend the day with. It’s all beautifully done, with the initial hesitation between their interactions giving way to the deeper bond that connects them. It absolutely nails the feeling of coming home and catching up with your friends: when you’re not quite sure where you start because it’s been so long and so much has happened, but you know they’re still the same friend you grew up with and you do your best to reaffirm the strength of your bond through those threads of golden time you have together.
Play this game if you’re feeling homesick. Immerse yourself in the world, the characters and the relationships surrounding Mae. If nothing else, it will make you appreciate the time you get to spend with your family and friends that much more and realize home isn’t the place, it’s the people you love.