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The Path (Windows)

77
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

The Path is an unconventional psychological horror game based on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and a French grandmother's tale from the 14th century. Described by the developers as a game about growing up, it consists of three acts that can be played with six different girls. To tell its story, the game uses the first-, second- and third person perspective. As much of the game depends on surprise and exploration, the game's outline as described below can be considered heavy on spoilers.

The game starts inside a house where a mother can instruct one of her six daughters (Robin, Rose, Ginger, Ruby, Carmen, and Scarlet, all aged nine to nineteen) to bring a basket with wine to grandmother's house. Players then control one the sisters as she walks down the path leading to the house. When players follow the road and enter the house, a chapter is completed, but rated poorly. To fully experience the game, the player eventually has to instruct the girls to leave the path and venture into the surrounding woods.

While exploring the woods, the graphics fade to a dim palette, with haunting sound effects and music (composed by Jarboe, formerly with the band Swans), and graphical patterns appearing as a screen overlay. There are no visible or invisible borders to the endless forest. The girls need to find key locations (called attractions) and items they can pick up. Scattered around are abandoned objects that all bring about fragments of a story. The forest layout is randomized for each playthrough and sometimes only specific daughters can interact with an object in the environment. At the same time their different experiences are interwoven as they make remarks about past events.

Items bring about memories and lines of text that subtly explain the girl's history and desire to leave the path and venture into the woods. The real meaning behind the game is largely left to the player's imagination, but many clues for interpretation are provided. The game sometimes takes over control, adding a black border around the screen, but never to take over decisions for the player or to lead him into a certain action.

Virtually no clues are provided while exploring the forest and a map with the walked route only briefly appears after every 100 meters. The daughters are able to walk and run, but the latter is largely discouraged through an in-game mechanic, making it a slow game in general. Players can also pick up up to 144 flowers that reveal a location for every six collected. It is not possible to fail in The Path, but conscious decisions by the players lead to events that cannot be reversed.

The game is controlled through the keyboard and the mouse, while actions are performed by letting go of the mouse. The game also uses a behaviour system called Drama Princess, where a girl reacts with the environment when the players lets go of the controls, chosen randomly from a pool of possible actions in that scene. While playing, sequences, actions, items, or characters also appear as a faded overlay over the left side of the screen. After completing the game once, it can be turned into a cooperative multiplayer game by plugging in a gamepad. There is an inventory, but rather as a reference than as a way to interact with the environment. The game does not contain voiced conversations, everything is conveyed through written text, gestures, or actions.

Screenshots

The Path Windows Title screen
The Path Windows Didn't you see that car somewhere else? Think of a connection with the sister you're playing.
The Path Windows This is the colour palette you'll see most often during the game. Here Ginger found a television that appears to work without electricity.
The Path Windows One of the many strange sequences in grandmother's house

Alternate Titles

  • "Тропа. Страшная сказка" -- Russian spelling
  • "144" -- Working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Not for everyone, but will appeal to story-driven Adventure gamers thud (88) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Couldn't have said that better Pixelspeech (955) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

The Press Says

The A.V. Club Apr 27, 2009 A- 91
Girl Gamers UK May 10, 2010 8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars8.5 Stars 85
Gamers.at Apr 16, 2009 81 out of 100 81
Tap-Repeatedly/Four Fat Chicks May 19, 2009 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Gamer.nl Mar 23, 2009 8 out of 10 80
Absolute Games (AG.ru) Apr 26, 2009 79 out of 100 79
OMGN: Online Multiplayer Games Network Apr 19, 2011 7.8 out of 10 78
DarkZero Apr 01, 2009 7 out of 10 70
PC Gameplay (Benelux) Apr 29, 2009 70 out of 100 70
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Jun 10, 2009 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
The Path - Teh Reviewes!!! 6 Joakim Kihlman (270)
May 04, 2009

Trivia

8

The Girl in White is a character from Tale of Tales' first, eventually cancelled game, 8.

1001 Video Games

The Path appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Blogs

Leading up to the release of the game, the creators created LiveJournal blogs for all six characters. They would post entries revealing their character and hint at the events of the game, and would even comment on each other's blog entries. The links to the blogs can be found in the related links section.

USB stick

Besides as digital download, The Path was released on a black, sturdy metal 1 GB USB stick with a print of Ruby and the The Path logo under a rounded glossy plastic overlay and with a transparent plastic cap to protect the plug. A black (Windows) or red (Macintosh) satin ribbon was attached by hand and can easily be removed. The stick includes a copy of the game and digital goodies such as desktop wallpapers, work in progress movies, and audio clips.

Information also contributed by game nostalgia

Related Web Sites

Sciere (256876) added The Path (Windows) on Mar 09, 2009
Other platforms contributed by Sciere (256876)