DescriptionThe 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.
- "Тропа. Страшная сказка" -- Russian spelling
- "144" -- Working title
Part of the Following Groups
|Not for everyone, but will appeal to story-driven Adventure gamers||thud (88)|
|Couldn't have said that better||Pixelspeech (955)|
The Press Says
|The A.V. Club||Apr 27, 2009||A-||91|
|Girl Gamers UK||May 10, 2010||85|
|Gamers.at||Apr 16, 2009||81 out of 100||81|
|Tap-Repeatedly/Four Fat Chicks||May 19, 2009||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||40|
|Topic||# Posts||Last Post|
|The Path - Teh Reviewes!!!||6||Joakim Kihlman (270)
May 04, 2009
8The Girl in White is a character from Tale of Tales' first, eventually cancelled game, 8.
1001 Video GamesThe Path appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
BlogsLeading 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 stickBesides 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
- Carmen's place. (fictional LiveJournal blog of Carmen, a character from the game)
- Everything A Big Bad Wolf Could Want (A five-minute radio broadcast by the NPR show All Things Considered, which discusses the themes and unique gameplay in The Path, with additional commentary being provided by Co-Designers Michaël Samyn and Auriea Harvey. A partial transcription is also provided (July, 2009).)
- Ginger The Great! (fictional LiveJournal blog of Ginger, a character from the game)
- Grandmother's house (official game website)
- Mac Gamer Review (A review of The Path by The Mac Gamer's Brad Snios (June 24th, 2009).)
- Robin! (fictional LiveJournal blog of Robin, a character from the game)
- Ruby's funhouse. (fictional LiveJournal blog of Ruby, a character from the game)
- Scarlet's World (fictional LiveJournal blog of Scarlet, a character from the game)
- The Diary of Rose Red (fictional LiveJournal blog of Rose, a character from the game)
- The Path (project page on the developer's website)
- The Path: A Fairy Tale for Adults (An Apple Games article discussing the Mac version of The Path, with input from the designers.)
- The Path Post Mortem (an extensive post mortem by the developers, one year after the original release)