July 3, 2022

Woven – PlayStation 4 Review

The time has come again to review, 
A game that is rather quite new,
About a jolly, fluffy little toy,
Who lives a life full of joy.
Our hero is made of fluff and stitch,
And has a best friend named Glitch.
Now, what game is it that I have chosen?
Why, it's Alterego's game Woven!

Woven, the cheery little game from Alterego puts you in control of a friendly stuffed animal called Stuffy. Stuffy is a curious soul who likes to wander around his homeland, though, he is rather clumsy. He often finds himself falling into new scenarios (quite literally) every which way he turns. On one of these excursions, he comes across some items that simply don’t belong in the world of Woven. And it isn’t long before he finds himself with a new friend.

From the very outset of Woven, you are introduced to a world that is full of character and splendour. The landscape of Woven is, quite literally, sewn together. With fabrics of all different kinds and textiles, it really is a wonderful place to be in. And Stuffy is able to transform himself into various shapes and sizes. Presuming he has found the correct blueprints, of course.

Hey Look It’s Spyro and Sparx. I Mean, Stuffy and Glitch

Alongside his rescued sidekick, Glitch, Stuffy can add the arm of a rabbit, the legs of a goat, the body of a deer, and the head of a giraffe. He simply needs to find a sewing machine. Transforming is the key way to solve puzzles in Woven. Different body parts provide different abilities, and you can mix-and-match to your heart’s content. In some parts of the game, you will also need to change the colour/s of Stuffy to get around obstacles.

The main aim of the game is to get Stuffy and Glitch to the other side of the world. Along the way, the duo opens up the mystery of what happened to Stuffy’s people, and what Glitch is doing here. It’s deep and explorative in the way it handles these narrative points. And it’s all wrapped up in a nice, story-time-like bow.

Gather Around Children, it’s Storytime!

There’s no combat present in Woven (presuming you don’t include dropping a boulder on a giant spider’s head to scare him away?). And that’s a good thing. It’s a relaxing romp through a world that could quite easily appear in a young child’s daytime TV programme.

Instead of battling, the game wants you to collect all the materials, blueprints, Glitch memories, and explore all the caves in each level. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but each level takes place in a massive world that takes a decent length of time to traverse.

A Stitch in Time Saves [SPOILER ALERT]

You aim to find different patterns such as those found on various animals, on flowers that you need to open, or simply sewn into the landscape.

The caves show off vibrant paintings that allude to the history in the surrounding area and what could possibly have happened there (no spoilers). The blueprints – which initially are the most complicated thing to work out how to get – come from stitching machines. Using the four arms of the machine you need to match up the dots on the line. However, the problem here is nobody tells you what to do, so you might have to retry your first attempt. Or, you’ll smash it and get it right the first time, in which, you’re a show-off and clearly better at this game than I am!

All of these puzzles need the help of Glitch to activate/acquire. The plants need Stuffy to stamp the floor and then Glitch to scan the plant to get their patterns. The sewn-on patterns merely need Stuffy to be close enough for Glitch to be able to scan them. The caves are in desperate need of light! Thankfully, Glitch is a firefly robot, so comes with a handy torch. Glitch is also required as a battery to power the memories, sewing machines, and stitching machines scattered around the world.

He Doesn’t Mind…

But, you certainly will mind when you get to the end of a level, having spent nigh-on forty minutes or so getting from the start to the finish, only to find you’ve missed a pattern or two! For collectaholics out there, it’s tantamount to blasphemy! However, you’ll want to replay the levels over and over again anyway simply for the joy the game brings you.

When I first started playing through Woven, it made me think of two other, somewhat similar games; Space Station: Silicon Valley from the Nintendo 64 (!) and Unravel. I think it’s because of being able to be different animals/a unique fusion of robotics that I drew the Space Station comparisons. And as for Unravel, well, I think that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? (They’re both puzzle games that feature a character made of fabrics)

It Just All Seems Very Nice. Well, For the Most Part, That is…

I’ve managed to put a decent amount of game time into playing Woven and looked at a few reviews. There is one aspect of the game I’ve noticed no-one else talk about. The exterior of Woven is friendly and child-like. Heck, it even has a rhyming omniscient narrator!

However, the narrator also references a dark side lurking just below the surface. It all becomes quite dark and sinister at times. I won’t spoil anything here, but it is safe to say that Woven isn’t as child-friendly as it initially seems.

I won’t share any more detail on that here. You’ll simply have to get the game and witness it for yourself!

In Conclusion…

All in all, Woven is a treasure of a game. There is a nice difficulty present that keeps it from going stale, and you’ll soon be wanting to collect all the things! The atmosphere is splendid and child-like (for the most part), and the aesthetics are amongst the most pleasing of any indie game this year. However, the lack of any kind of world map seriously lets the game down. The instructions to some puzzles can be woefully unclear – if present at all! That being said, it does add to the difficulty level, though not in a way that is necessarily conducive to having fun.

Theoretically, anyone of any age or skill level could quite happily play Woven. Which, yes, does mean it’s ideal for the young and young at heart. And, if Alterego commission any plush toys of Stuffy, then everyone’s a winner!

YouTube player

Woven is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. For more information on the game, check out the website here. Alternatively, Woven is on Twitter, or you can check out the Discord channel. Regardless of how you play or get in touch with Woven, be sure to check this one out this Festive season!


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Woven Review
  • 7.5/10
    Overall - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Summary

A classic puzzle game dressed up like a child’s toybox, Woven has charm, wit, and a whole lotta rhymes! The downside, however, is that the developers didn’t include a world map for you to be able to see where you’ve been/need to go. Which makes traversing an already large game even more difficult. However, that aside, there is plenty to like about Woven. 

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