White Wolf Publishing was a company that started a new type of tabletop RPG to try to compete with other big-name tabletop dice games. They decided instead of doing the fantasy dragons and knights campaign, they wanted to make it a more modern-day version of role-playing but bring the nightmares and monsters into this world. For me, the best part was you could finally become the monsters. The collection of games was known as the World of Darkness and one of my favorite worlds to dive into was Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
I was a huge fan of this new style of gaming. I think that you get to see that not every monster was a bad guy, but rather just bad stuff happened to them and you had to make decisions on how to react to them. This would change the player in multiple ways both physically, emotionally, and a lot of times spiritually. Because of this thought-provoking and world-expanding play, I am a huge fanatic of this company and almost everything they have done with the World of Darkness series.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is the latest game from this amazing franchise. Published by Walkabout Games and developed by Different Tales, you step into the shoes of Maia Boroditch. She is an American student that is lured to her heritage home in Bialowieza, Poland. When she arrives at this quaint quiet town, she is treated with fear and disgust, and anger. She is thrown headfirst into a conflict between loggers who wish to destroy the forest she has been dreaming about and the protesters that are trying to save it from destruction. Through speaking with others and discovering things with her best friend, she quickly learns that her heritage is that of a werewolf.
As Maia, you have only 3 actual stats you need to concern yourself with and that is Rage, Willpower, and Health. These stats will help guide the choices that you can choose from as the story continues. The current strength of these stats will determine the choices they can make in the story. Werewolf the Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest plays very similar to another recent visual novel, Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York. So if you have played this game or one like it, you will quickly get the feel of what determines your path. As the player, each decision you make will help fill in Maia’s character backstory and fluctuate her stat pool.
Visually, the game brings me back to the original artwork from the core books for Werewolf the Apocalypse from 1992. I am pretty sure that even some of the drawings in the game are some of the exact original works. I also enjoyed how the character development was in the game to give you the full backstory build on the character. It was the same process that you would want to go through with your game master if you had the design of who you want to play when the game begins. In fact, this whole game is a great idea on how to create your very first character to dive into the World of Darkness franchise.
For me, that is about all this game had going for it. Werewolf the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is a very short game. I completed the single run-through in less than 2 hours and most of that time was showing you the general concept of the games and how it relates to your character. You don’t even get to tap into Maia’s full supernatural abilities until the game is almost over. It felt like a roller coaster ride you been dying to ride on all winter and when you get the highest point of the ride the ride is over less than 2 minutes later. Luckily for anyone who wants to replay the game, I did find out there are multiple endings if you chose a different path that you want Maia to take.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is a great platform for anyone who wants to learn the ends and outs of one of the best ways to make a backstory for a new character. The decisions you get to make help guide your personal ideas on what you want the character to be and will help guide you later on how to play that character. This game is very motivational like the old-style pencil and paper game by giving you a choice on saving part of nature from the destruction by man. It made me relive the feel I got from the old paper books and was a great one-shot game. I would tell anyone who wants to try out novel type games that this is a good game to start. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest released for PC on October 13th, 2020, for $13.49.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest for PC provided by Different Tales and Walkabout.