A short game that can get you right in the feels
Going into the game I was curious what it could be all about. All I really knew was that there was an interesting story to uncover, and that it involved a fox. I had thoughts that it would be something along the same line as That Dragon, Cancer or Dear Esther. After spending time exploring the game, I can say that while it is a short game, it also tells a story that has the potential to tug at your own heartstrings.
The First Tree has very simple gameplay. Most of the game is essentially a walking simulator with a small amount of easy platforming. You will spend much of your time exploring the world to learn more of the story behind the game. Because of this, the controls are very simple. This allows you to listen to what is going on in the story while you run around.
While taking into account that this is a walking type game, there seemed like there could be more platforming gameplay included. There are come challenging parts for those who want to get achievements though, which offers that challenge for those who want it.
Discovering the story is a focus of the game, and because of this, I will not be going much into what is happening in the story in my review. However, I will say that depending on your experiences in life, this story could be extremely relatable. You will control a fox attempting to find her missing cubs, and you will also lean about the lives of a couple coming to grips with events in their lives.
The story deals with topics of life, death, loss, and more. I would venture to say that there are several players who will be able to draw similarities between themselves, and what is happening in the game as you explore the story.
The story is unraveled by locating points in the map which will give you the next piece of the story. As you go on, it will culminate with an inspiring, Journey-esque finale that made me want to play the game again. The entire game can be completed in about 90 minutes if you are speeding through it, but if you explore all the places, or you are going for total completion, it will be longer.
Sights and Sounds
The game itself is extremely pretty. Much of the game features beautiful, stylistic environments as you wander through snowy hills, or grassy forests. There are some character models that are a little off, but I really only noticed these when I got really close to them.
The game also features a varied soundtrack that allows you to feel the excitement of the moment of what is happening in the game, but also enhances the moments of storytelling. Music was licensed from the musician, Josh Kramer, and is a great listen even out of the game.
The First Tree is likely not for everyone (as many walking simulator type games can be), but there will be many who will get much more than an hour of enjoyment out of this title. Creator, David Wehle, does a fine job of telling this story in a touching manner. It is a very short game, and it does not have a high price tag either. I would recommend giving it a spin if you are wanting to spend a bit of time listening to a story that could touch your heart in a striking way.
Have you played this game? Let us know what you thought below!