Developer: GriN Multimedia
Release Date: March 17th, 2015
Available On: PC
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is one we all know by now, yet people are always happy to twist the formula up a bit. Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries seeks to turn it into a more mature tale under the guise of a 2.5d platformer/brawler. Sadly, The Red Hood Diaries is also probably one of the worst game I have ever played and gets nearly nothing right.
The Red Hood Diaries follows Red as she tries to discovery the mystery behind her father’s death. Believing him to have been killed by local evil business man/dictator B.B. Woolfe, Red breaks into Woolfe’s factories and discovers that her father may not have been the man she thought him to be. Futhermore a bunch of little girls are getting kidnapped and this is apparently super bad, but is also basically only there to be sequel bait (apparently this is the first half of a two episode game.) Right from the start the game can’t seem to decide on its tone. Sometimes characters talk in all rhyme, other times they don’t. The game takes place in a fantasy setting, but sometimes Red makes modern day references or one liners. Worse, the game clearly only has one voice actress as Red is the only character to speak. At one weird point she has a very long one-sided conversation with the Pied Piper, then kills him and finds a letter that answers all the questions she had. It’s hard to care about B.B. Woolfe as a villain when he never has a single line in the game.
As a platformer, there’s a lot of running and jumping to be done in Red Hood Diaries. Thankfully, jumping is the one thing the game does get right: Red can double jump and it’s easy to tell where I was going to land. Sadly, this is also the only thing the game gets right. Sometimes Red had to grab onto ledges, a process that is supposed to be done automatically, so she can move along walls. The problem is that it’s a total crapshoot if Red was going to grab the ledges or not. A very large chunk of my deaths was because Red decided to not grab a ledge and fell down some bottomless pit. It became absolutely infuriating when a series of ledges came up, since it was basically a few guaranteed deaths, sometimes starting back rather far distances.
Red Hood Diaries technically has stealth, which is done by holding down the left trigger which causes Red to sneak. After I got the ax, about 15 minutes into the game, this promptly became useless as no enemy was in a position that I could sneak past. This also starts the need to use the game’s horrid combat system. Red can either use light or heavy attacks, but there’s no combos of any kind. Instead Red wildly swings the ax in front of her like a crazed spaz, with animations often stopping half way through or looking totally unconnected. The game also has a ton of unnecessary effects every time Red swings her ax, making it difficult to actually tell when she is and isn’t hitting anything. Red gains a few skills that she can use, but the only useful one is the ax throw. The ground pound only works on a very small area in front of Red (despite having an effect that would imply otherwise), a spin attack seems like it was designed to miss everything, and a claw swipe may be useful but I only got it for the final boss fight so who knows. I could also hold down the left bumper to slow down time, but it also slows down Red so this is utterly worthless.
During the game I would use Red’s spaz ax against very few opponents. For the majority of the game it’s tin soldiers and rats, the latter of which really sucks to fight as Red’s attacks tends to whiff over their heads often. Late in the game faeries and wolves also get thrown into the mix, but every opponent is the same thing: smash X or Y and hope they die sooner rather than later. Every time an enemy dies they violently eject health potions and orbs that let me use the special attacks, but the problem is that they flew at such high velocities that they would often end up in unreachable locations or at the bottom of pits. There’s also two boss fights in the game, both of them involve dodging a series of instant kill attacks and killing large swarms of enemies until I got the opportunity to hit them. Rinse and repeat three times, or several dozens while I tried to learn their cheap patterns. Also the game is only about 3 hours long, but that may actually be a blessing in disguise.
Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries is an absolute disaster. At no point in the game did I ever feel anything remotely close to fun. Red is right: there is nothing fair about this fairy tale. All of it is just crap.