Reviewed on Steam
I have way too many games on Steam. Like for real, I look at my library and come across games I didn’t even know I had in my possession. Though to be fair, bundles are also partially to blame for that. Woodle Tree Adventures has been in my Steam library since 2014 yet I’ve only decided to give it a shot not too long ago. Most likely the reason I decided to play this game instead of my hundreds of other games would be my thirst for 3D Platformers; they’re rare in this current day and age. And according to HowLongToBeat it was also short. I’m a busy man okay; I have to base my interests on gameplay time sometimes as well.
Woodle Tree Adventures was created by Fabio Ferrara , a game developer and co-founder of independent game studio Chubby Pixel which also published the game in 2014. They’re located in Spain and have been making game projects for every current age console, as well as PC and mobile devices. They have delved into all sorts of different designs, even a VR MMO of all things! At the moment they have made a total of ten games, spread across all before mentioned consoles. An impressive repertoire to say the least, especially for a company that was founded in only 2012. If they’re all of equal quality I can’t say since Woodle Tree Adventures is so far the only game I have played, but it did lead to a sequel and has mostly positive reviews on Steam so that’s a good sign at least.
The story of Woodle Tree Adventures is.. a good question actually. I knew there was a starting cutscene, but I could not find a way to start a new game without deleting the actual save date in the game folder. Fortunately we have the internet for whenever I don’t remember something because I totally forgot what the game was about. Like you would expect, this isn’t a game you’re playing for the story as it’s pretty simple overall: you were born from the roots of a not-Deku Tree, and your job is to bring water to a more demanding world. By collecting Fairy Tears, the world becomes more wet ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) and you’re able to explore new worlds. And.. that’s basically it I suppose. That’s all the story you’re going to get from this game.
Woodle Tree Adventures follows a sort of seasonal settings, where there are four worlds related to the story with each having one of the four seasons as elemental decorations. Think of a beach setting for summer, and a snowy setting for winter. And.. something for the remaining seasons. It’s not too obvious what differentiates them from each other. The world also looks weird as you’re on platforms in the sky, but let’s not question the logic of a game where you play as a walking tree stump. There’s a main hub being your own house—because trees need houses—where you can select any of the stages by hitting it. It doesn’t show a name though, so it’s up to your memory if you want to select a specific stage. You also can’t leave a level without actually finishing it or restarting the game soo… hope you’re not as amnesiac as I am.
Did the tree ever get named? I’m just going to call him Woodle from now on to make life easier for myself. Woodle controls pretty floaty but fine in a 3D environment with a jump, run and a clear shadow beneath him for landing on other platforms. Unfortunately the camera is not controllable in any way, meaning that if you’re platforming on a 2D plane well.. that’s not the most pleasant thing to do, especially if bottomless pits are involved. But the worst part of this camera is not knowing where a horizonal platform starts or ends, or not even knowing where the next platform is because you can’t make the camera go overhead. Other than that he controls fine, but if I could control the camera that would make platforming a lot better.
Woodle can also attack! He carries a leaf with him to slap his enemies to death and beyond, which can later be upgraded to make it so that it shoots a whirlwind out of it. It’s an attack alright, and does exactly what you expect. All enemies die in one hit by the touch of this mighty leaf. And yet again.. that’s basically it. there are no powerups or anything else; it’s just you and your leaf. Enemies themselves don’t prove a threat either, as the only way they can damage you is by walking into you very predictably. But if they do touch you, it’s back to the checkpoint. There are no lives in this game so it’s always back to a checkpoint after dying.. which is the most unclear checkpoint there is. You never know where the checkpoint is located, and it happened to me quite frequently that I died and instead spawned at the checkpoint before, or at the beginning of the stage.
Your objective in a stage is to find three Fairy Tears scattered throughout the world, and then place them on a pedestal at the end. The Fairy Tears are usually on your way towards the end, but you might have to stray away from the path every now and then. Aside from that there are berries to collect, which gives you different leaf colours after collecting a certain amount, and unlocks two extra stages. There isn’t a limited amount per stage so you don’t have to get every single berry for completion purposes. The bag on the back of the tree grows the more berries you collect, which actually makes platforming even harder because you see less of Woodle himself.
There are only six stages total and no bosses to be found. The stages aren’t very long and beating the game would probably take you half an hour, completing at best double of that. Because of the infinite respawns the game isn’t difficult either; the difficulty comes from the frustrating camera. For achievement hunters this might be an ideal game as all achievements can be obtained in definitely less than two hours, probably even the beforementioned one hour. It comes as no surprise probably that there is few replayability either.
The graphics overall look fine though, it has a cutesy art style which applies to both enemies and the land itself. Some of the enemies look pretty derpy but it works in the game’s favour. The soundtrack is relaxing but overall not too memorable. Actually now that I think about it, this game is heavily directed towards kids huh? The art style seems especially child friendly, more so than most games in the same genre do. That doesn’t mean I forgive the camera issues however.
Woodle Tree Adventures gives me the feeling of being a developer’s firstborn child, and while that does not necessarily come off as bad, there are noticeable improvements to be had. The checkpoints are wonky, but the worst offender of all is easily the non-controllable camera. And even then, there is so little diversity to be had in this game with only half an hour of actual gameplay which only consists of platforming and sometimes attacking. The game is short and easily completable for the completionists out there, but otherwise there is little reason to play this game. It works and Woodle controls alright, but there are too many negatives for me to recommend this game. And with that, here is my final verdict for Woodle Tree Adventures:
Woodle Tree Adventures used to be for Steam only until not too long ago, where it also became available for the Nintendo Switch. I’ve heard the Switch edition has a bit more extra content so.. I guess you could get that version? I mean I’m not stopping you.