For anyone looking to get my attention, other than leaving a trail of unopened beers leading to a bouncy castle full of smut, the best way to catch my eye is with some pretty colours. There, I’ve declared a weakness, and on that basis, it was Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe, from the amazingly titled Chubby Pixel, on the PS4 that got my attention.
If you’ve read a review or two of mine, you’ll note a pattern in that I’ll play anything and will see good in most games. I, of course, have my favourite genres such as point and click adventures, the odd RPG and a good old racing game. Platform games used to be something I played more in the 16-bit era and maybe grew a little complacent with until the evolution of the 3D sandbox such as Mario 64. Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe won me over with the visuals – not because it was my kind of game, but the presentation slightly reminded me of those days of Mario 64 and perhaps Banjo-Kazooie.
Yes, Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe is much like its predecessors as you wander around some bright locations, jumping from this to that, and exploring a world where everyone vomits rainbows. The story is simple; you take on the role of Woodle; a tree stump who is assisted by Leaf, a leaf. A black slime-like substance is terrorising the local inhabitants and who wood (intentional) you call on but Woodle (and Leaf) to save the day? It’s a surprisingly sizeable open-world platformer where you’re relatively free to explore, but generally speaking, you need to rescue some sages to take on forces of evil and other cliches.
The rescue process means collecting tears that you use on the sages, who are guardian trees of sorts. It’s all very generic in terms of story and is complemented by the art style. I’d describe it as a pseudo kawaii style, though hate that term, I think it would indicate what to expect. What I didn’t expect was my deteriorating levels of patience as the platform aspect of the game isn’t helped by the camera angles.
While one person apparently made this (well done you!), it doesn’t seem to have progressed since the days of Mario 64. The number of times I had to manually flip the camera position (with the right analogue stick) to see where I was going to fall for the 100th time was far too frequent. In some ways, this added to the overall time I was playing Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe as I could seldom run through a section as had to position the camera first to ensure I wouldn’t get hit by an enemy or that I would make the distance in what seemed like a simple jump.
It also didn’t help with the starting world as the levels of green had headache written all over it. The colours were so overwhelming that I found that my eyes were getting sore. It’s like reading a book in a red font with an emerald green background. Yes, you can read it, but it becomes quite taxing on the eyes, and there were no other contrasting shades of green to define other platforms – just a blanket of green. In such cases I would typically adjust the contrast on my TV, but found that I ended up switching it off, passing the controller to someone else and picking it up at a later area. These later areas were fine, and while the colours were big and bold, they were in no way as intoxicating as the greens were from the start. I’ve mentioned green a lot, but I still feel it’s burned into my retinas, and soul (should I even have one after criticising the cutie pie, Woodle).
As frustrating as the camera angles can be, the actual levels are well made and offer a good variety to experiment with. Some sections provide plenty of frustration, but that’s the nature of the genre, and it was good to have a challenge that wasn’t down to a technical flaw. I have to say the overall difficulty of Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe is pretty tough. This immediately strikes me as a game for younger folk if not for those reminiscing about the good old days of 3D open-world games. In playing the game further, I think it’s more designed for the latter as there is undoubtedly a challenge there. Sure, it’s not a rogue-like, but for a game that oozes ‘kids game’, I’d not be surprised with a handful of children asking for a little help to get past x.
The sound effects and music are forgettable. Not because they’re bad, but they go with the territory of this sort of game and lacks anything catchy, good or bad. The characters don’t speak in the game; instead, it’s text-based and is a big black box that appears in the bottom centre of the screen (like in Banjo-Kazooie, only that game is pretty old now). I found this ugly, considering the bright colours in the game and it just stands out in a bad way. It might as well have been Comic Sans on a rusty nail as it was a bit of an eyesore and full of unnatural English, writes the person who used ‘wood’ instead of ‘would’ earlier. Would I do that? Yes, I wood.
By this point, I have to mention that there is the option to have a local multiplayer for up to four players but will honestly say that I did not play this mode long enough for my review. While I didn’t hate Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe, it just put me off that I couldn’t really bring myself to play a game with another player or two and seeing as the only candidates who had played it themselves complained it was too hard. My only option was to stick with the one player, me, as best I could at least until my patience waned.
As much as I’d like to pretend to be a tough guy who slicks his hair back and wears a leather jacket (that’s the definition of tough), I have to admit that I do like a bit of variety and quite fond of the odd family game here and there. Unfortunately, Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe put me off early with the colour and camera angles. It all felt somewhat backward in considering how many titles we’ve had since then, as well as the advancements of camera placement. Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe is far from a turkey of a game, but a few design choices, including the difficulty curve, perhaps dismiss quite a few groups who would generally be all over this. If you want something bright and open-world like in this sort of model, perhaps stick with Spyro: Reignited Trilogy.
Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe PS4 Review
Overall - Not Bad - 5/10
Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe doesn’t quite see the wood for the trees and misses the mark on some basic platform mechanics and visual choices that unfortunately spoil it in some way.
- Open world (ish) that replicates titles such as Mario 64
- Cute character designs, if that’s your thing
- Level design in most places is pretty good
- The camera angles are a menace!
- The choice of colour (and lack of) in some areas is abysmal
- Uninspired sound effects and music
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.
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