Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest from Walkabout Games is different to nearly everything you’ve played before. The game is like a hybrid of a best selling novel and role-playing game that captures the essence of the source material beautifully.
Part of the staple reading of my childhood was the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and although comparing this game to them is oversimplifying the work that has gone into this title I still got that same sense of consequence of action while playing it.
The story is very well written by a team that truly understands the tabletop RPG that it is inspired by. After all, Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Vampire the Masquerade are still immersive games from the “World of Darkness” that are held in high regard sitting at the pinnacle of tabletop choices alongside games like Dungeons and Dragons. This title should not be confused with another video game “Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood” which is due for release in February, it is it’s own “beast” and sits wonderfully on Nintendo Switch and PC.
As Maia, you will discover your polish family’s dark secrets and reveal hidden truths about the Bialowieza Forest, a real-world location with deep supernatural roots and the vast wilderness of Central Europe. I won’t go too far into the actual story as it really needs to be played spoiler-free to enjoy every element. I find myself talking about this game more like a novel than a game, it’s just the feeling it evokes in me to the point that even while playing it became my “bedtime game” a time I normally set aside for a paperback.
The standout throughout the game is the hand-drawn illustrations that must have taken great inspiration from the RPG rulebook. Each sets the tone of the story magnificently and would be great to see in a coffee table display book or even pulling out of the world and using as a print on your wall.
The light RPG elements built into the mechanics of the game feel more organic than standard role-playing scenarios. Your choices affect your attributes which include Willpower, Health and the much talked about Rage that learning to control is really the heart of the game. These will affect the options you are offered and the overall presentation of the environments.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse “Heart of the Forest” is a game about choice, making hard decisions and living with the consequences of them. The story adapts for the teachings of the source material perfectly and its novel-like appearance gives you a unique gaming experience that I hope we will see more of.