“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul” – John Muir
Witchhazel Woods is a charmingly eerie point-and-click game in which players must adventure through the titular forest in order to rescue their dog from a lonely ghost. It is also a labour of love by first-time indie developer Rachel Wigell.
Developer: Rachel Wigell
Released: 12th August 2022
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam
Engine: GameMaker 2
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Witchhazel Woods can be played with a Keyboard, controller or mouse and features standard inventory style point-and-click puzzling in a manually side-scrolling environment. The quests and narrative are both quite linear. Most of the characters the payer meets will have something they can give you in exchange for something else, this process continues until the player gets what the lonely ghost is after. There are necessary and optional puzzles with the latter being much thicker. Overall, the gameplay is very satisfying with logical but fun solutions to the different conundrums.
Players take on the role of Dylan, who loses her dog Georgia in Witchhazel Woods after throwing a stick too far. Upon finding her she discovers the dog is being held hostage by a lonely ghost, only by providing the spirit with a suitable companion will Georgia be set free.
Dylan must embark on an adventure through Witchhazel Woods meeting a plethora of intriguing and unique characters. Ranging from cute critters to giants they all have distinct personalities and needs. The writing is a highlight of the game and this comes across in the characterisation and witty dialogue.
The retro-style music features acoustic guitar and chime-like sounds and ranges from delicate and relaxing to eerie and suspense-building. The ambient sound effects such as birds and crickets are immersive and help build the environment. Witchhazel Woods has delightfully detailed pixel art in moody colour palettes with vibrant highlights. The spooky and somewhat retro visuals suit the narrative and gameplay style very well and match the audio elements for a cohesive overall aesthetic.
Witchhazel Woods will take around an hour to play and has some replayability in the form of secrets and achievements. Both the visual and audio elements fit the game perfectly and really help bring the game world and its characters to life. The writing is of a high standard and a very enjoyable aspect of the game with the twisting storyline and eclectic characters. Overall, this game is a fantastic example of a short point-and-click game and I highly recommend it.
You can also watch my playthrough of Witchhazel Woods on the Indie Hive YouTube channel.
If you like point-and-click games you might also like:
The Darkside Detective – 9 Point-and-Click Mysteries with a Spooky Twist! – Shindig: A Wholesome New Point-and-Click Adventure – Lost in Play – A Surprisingly Tricky Puzzle Adventure!