Your band plays a gig, and rather than signing the whole group, a spotter hands a contract to just you, the lead singer. What do you do?
That’s the predicament that Scarlet, protagonist of Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood, finds herself in. It turns out she doesn’t have much time to dwell on it, though, because shortly after this side-scrolling puzzle-adventure kicks off, Scarlet finds herself whisked away to a mysterious fantasy land.
Gone are her bandmates and the landscape of Kentucky she’s familiar with. Instead, she finds herself in the middle of a forest, filled with munchkins, fairies, and a threat of an apparent evil witch. Boldly animated, bright and colourful, Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood immediately grabs you with its simple charm.
Sure, the voice acting is a little ropey, but it’s forgivable – not least because there’s not that much of it. For the most part, dialogue is simply written, so you’ll have to click through your fair share of text boxes. It’s not a hardship when Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood presents an interesting story though. Inspired by fairy tales (and quite possibly The Wizard of Oz), Scarlet finds herself being crowed the ‘Red Witch’. It turns out that’s a good thing, and the munchkins of the new land she’s found herself in quickly take her under their wing.
Scarlet Hood wastes no time in throwing puzzles at you, but they start off fairly simple. You’ll need to crack an easy code, and later decipher a lock mechanism. Mostly, they’re rewarding to solve, but some are frustratingly barebones on instructions. One requires you to fix a wagon’s wheel, but the chances are you’ll find yourself haphazardly clicking around the screen, hoping for the best, rather than flexing any logic skills.
Still, any frustrations are short-lived; there’s a nice balance of storytelling and puzzles here in order to keep a steady pace. If you’re a fan of classic puzzles, you’ll feel right at home. From pipe puzzles to fixing mechanisms to cracking codes, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. If puzzles aren’t your thing, you might find yourself scratching your head, but there’s unlikely to be anything you’ll be stuck on for too long.
With pleasing visuals, an intriguing story and plenty of puzzles, Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood is an adventure worth going on. It’s available on Steam now, priced at £11.99/$14.99.