“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Winding Path is a delightfully relaxing adventure game about finding beauty in the world and appreciating the little things. Players can explore the hand-drawn environments, converse with the locals and complete small quests and puzzles in order to achieve the main goal of restoring balance to the whimsical, fantasy world.
Developer: Three-Eyed Games
Released: 26th August 2021
The game has some really varied gameplay despite the overall simplicity. There are logic puzzles that’ll have the player moving boxes onto switches, inventory-based conundrums, quests and tasks assigned by townsfolk such as rescuing cats or finding stolen goods and even archery! The gameplay feels much like that of a point-and-click game although it is best played with a controller as the keyboard controls are somewhat awkward. That being said, mouse support and full point-and-click controls are being added in an update at the end of next month.
One of the key mechanics kicks in after the protagonist find a magical lyre that will summon a rain cloud overhead when played. The player has control over the notes being played, whether by using the number keys on the keyboard or the right joystick on a controller, and this becomes something of a minigame in itself. Overall, it is a very relaxing adventure but the puzzles will require some thought and a few of the tasks can be a bit tricky resulting in a calm but satisfying experience.
A Winding Path has a simple overarching narrative, the world’s water is drying up and its inhabitants no longer trust one another causing massive division. The protagonist must use their magical lyre to influence the environment and help the citizens organise a joyous feast! This is brought to life by an eclectic range of environments such as ancient caverns, heavily populated settlements and peaceful forests but also by the fabulous cast of characters and the interactions to be had.
The game’s unique black and white art style is one of the highlights of A Winding Path. Drawn with a ballpoint pen and animated with a simple but charming style, it has a minimalist and quaint overall aesthetic that really suits the themes and pace of the experience.
There is no music in the game but the ambient sound effects such as birds tweeting, crickets, chairs rocking and arrows flying are all perfectly implemented giving a real sense of the environment and helping to immerse the player into it. The poetic dialogue is fantastically written and it is a joy to find new characters to interact with; the overall quality of the writing more than compensates for the lack of voice acting.
A Winding Path is a charming and original experience, offering chilled out gameplay that provides just enough of a challenge. It’ll take 2-3 hours to complete but there is plenty of scope to spend longer in the game for those who want to explore in detail or become a master at the Artemis Archery Club! The beautiful combination of gameplay and styling give this title a unique and wholesome feel, it has the potential to appeal to a range of player preferences and I highly recommend it!
For more black and white games, maybe check out the following titles:
Stilstand: An Insightful Portrayal of Loneliness – Inkslinger: A Fantastic New Visual Novel and Typing Game – Bee Gaming for Free with BirdGut