Finished Night in the Woods last night. One of my favourite games I’ve played this year (though I don’t play loads of games per year / I take my time these days / whatevs), and I definitely reiterate that I’d recommend it to anyone who liked Life is Strange. It captures that same nostalgic tone, with similar meditations on the dangers of dwelling on the past and the perceived idyll of memory (also, like LiS, the “fandom” around seems to be a tad on the irritating side in places).
Along similar lines, anyone who is (like me) a massive devotee of Kentucky Route Zero may find something to like in this. It has a similar sense of nuance in how it deals with some of its common themes (the abandonment of the small-town environment, working class identity, etc.) and is clearly influenced by it in other ways (in a formal sense, it has a very ‘vignette’-ish structure) but synthesises this influence to create something distinct and personal. The developers clearly have an understanding of what it’s like to be a young adult in a small town; aimless strolls around the same streets (and occasional diversions, explorations), being surrounded by recognisable artefacts of the / your past, etc. and it engages with all this stuff from a really well-realised perspective. Seems like a weird coincidence that I’m typing this post after scrolling past the question as to whether any games are well-written (to which the answer is obvs yes m9) as well, because this is a fine example of a well- and carefully-written game (this article describes it better than I can be arsed to: https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/what-mass-effect-andromeda-and-horizon-could-learn-from-night-in-the-woods).
That use of influence was really welcome, as a little aside. Just because I find games can tend to lean a tad to heavily to just paying homage and kind of leaving it. Like if an indie game says it’s influenced by Twin Peaks, you can bet there’ll be a diner and one of the characters will drink coffee or something in a really affected way.