I wish I had something good to say about Woodle Tree Adventures. It’s colorful art style brings back fond memories of classic 3D platformers, which much to my dismay have all but disappeared from gaming in recent years. As much as I wanted to love Woodle, as a game it’s among the worst designed, most disappointing experiences I’ve had in a very long time. It took only an hour of my time to complete, but it felt like so much more with how depressing those sixty minutes were.
Woodle Tree is a very traditional collectathon platformer on paper; traverse levels picking up inane objects to bring back a spirit tree that’s grown sad over the disappearing water of the world. Upon actually playing the game, everything instantly loses its enticing charm, reduced to a lesson in how to completely ruin a genre that I hold especially close to my heart.
At the forefront of all these problems is the games camera, which for reasons I cannot understand was chosen to be fixed in place, presumably moving with you and positioning itself as to best allow you to get through levels. This is a bad idea for more reasons than I care to list, the biggest being that it makes judging the distance for jumps incredibly difficult, not to mention caused me an extreme amount of motion sickness (something I’ve never experience in a game). Levels are designed with a noticeable lack in direction, full of pointless dead ends, oddly position platforms, and invisible checkpoints that neither tell you when you reach them or work as intended much of the time.
The sound design is just sad to have to listen to, with awful sound effects and a soundtrack that is chaotic, perhaps even musically offensive. The cute art design is the only thing I can give scant amounts of praise to, but even that loses its charm when it jumps radically between styles, none of which are particularly interesting to look at or even reflect the lighthearted feel the game seems to be going for.
I’d like to say Woodle Tree Adventures isn’t one of the most dismal games I’ve played recently, but there is nothing I can even partially recommend it for, and wish I’d headed the words of others and passed on it myself. It left me feeling hollow, and sad for the developer who almost seemed to have something at a point before it slipped through his fingers.
It’s really no wonder the spirit tree is crying. I would too if I was stuck in this game any longer than I was.