Different Tales’ adventure game ‘Heart of the Forest’ lets you control the story

Joshua Kelley | Gaming Writer

Werewolf: the Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest is a visual novel in video game form that resembles those old “choose your own path” adventure books. Developed by the company Different Tales and released in October 2020, Heart of the Forest is a quick and easily replayable adventure that can provide many hours of entertainment as you delve deeper into the mystery of Białowieza National Forest in Poland.

The player takes the reins as the troubled Maia Boroditch as she travels to Poland to learn more about her family’s history, as well as to answer the call of a mysterious recurring dream that she has been experiencing since childhood. While in Białowieza, the player as Maia will have to overcome various trials, both emotional and physical, all while dealing with the story’s central antagonist — illegal logging operations.

Mechanically, what sets Heart of the Forest apart is the layer of complexity within the storytelling that tracks your decisions and affects both Maia’s relationship with other individuals in Białowieza and the important statistics that shape what kind of person your Maia might be.

Every decision you make has a real effect on the story and on Maia. Is she a brave and inspirational person who rallies others to her aid despite the danger she might find herself in? Or is she a more spiritual person who sees and understands that there is more than what can be seen going on around her. The answer comes down to how you play and what you think would be the best decision in various circumstances she faces.

While I have talked first about the mechanical strengths of the game, it’s real strength comes from the immersive sound design and the rather spectacular soundtrack that work together to immerse the player in Maia’s world. The atmosphere of Heart of the Forest lends to every event a weight that they might not have had otherwise.

If I were forced to offer some small gripe, it would be about the length of the game. Most playthroughs clock in at around four hours, putting it on the shorter side. Still, the game is intended to be played multiple times adding additional hours of worth to the title.

Overall Werewolf: the Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest is a fantastic addition to the greater world of the Heart of Darkness universe in which it is set, offering a world full of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and — as one might have guessed — werewolves. It sits at the reasonable price of $14.99 on all platforms where games are sold, so it won’t drain your wallet. And if the setting catches your fancy, I recommend looking out for the recently released Werewolf: the Apocalypse — Earthblood, which just came out in February.