The Path is an indie game from Tale of Tales. (Not to be confused with Telltale Games.) It goes back to the original stories of Little Red Riding Hood and turns them into a series of disturbing interactive adventures. It’s survival horror, but without the “survival” part. (Maybe.)
When I say “survival horror”, note that I’m talking more about Silent Hill and less about Resident Evil. In fact, The Path is about as far from the narrative of Resident Evil as you can hope to get. You might have trouble understanding The Path because it’s open and ambiguous, while you might have trouble understanding Resident Evil because it was written by drunken chimpanzees. The Path is subtle, unnerving, playful, and full of imagery. This is not a game that tries to scare us with tentacle zombies popping out of closets. This is a game that tries to scare us by showing us the parts of life that usually go unregarded. A lot of games tackle the question of “can games be art?” The Path seems to be asking, “can art be a game?”
The events you see will be “open to interpretation”. You can view it as a painful journey of children brushing up against the adult world. Or you can take a literal approach and see it as a game where you steer six girls into situations where they are possibly molested, murdered, menaced, or raped. There’s no blood, no nudity, but both violence and sex are alluded to, so don’t go buying this for your kids just because it has Lil’ Red Riding Hood.
I hate to say too much about events that unfold in the game, because to relate them is to interpret them, and I don’t want to impose too many of my impressions onto your experience. I went into the game with very little idea of what I would find, and so I found a lot of myself in it. If I’d read an overview I might have gone in expecting more and getting less.
If you’re like me and you’ve been lamenting about how games have been stuck in a rut of boilerplate storytelling and carbon-copy gameplay, then you owe it to yourself to check out The Path. I don’t give the game my full endorsement as a game, but I give it full marks for having a bold vision and running with it. It’s innovative, unique, and it’s only ten bucks.
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