The next time you feel like a little bedtime story, don’t grab a book from the bedside table. Instead, go download NLB Project’s offbeat Return of Red (Riding) Hood and settle in for the short haul that turns into a longer one sooner than you think. This Russian developed game takes the simple tale of Little Red Riding Hood and makes it into a choose your own adventure experience that ends up going all over the place and then some. It’s also a bit of a meta exercise as the whole thing starts out as one character reading the old story to a little girl as a bedtime story, but at certain points, you get to choose different options that alter the next page of the story.
Part of the humor here is from the developer’s sense of humor and part is from the mangled English translation that makes for some grin-worthy reading. Early on, “Pastries” becomes “Pasties” (and yes, I know all about pasty as a pastry, but this is just a spelling error in the game) and you’ll see a few other grammar issues pop up. That said, even with the bumps and grinds in the translation, the stories play out in some pretty amusing manners. The choices you make turn the really short and familiar story on its ear a few times and with 45 endings to discover, you may be up slightly longer than you thought. Is this for kids? That depends. If you and your kids share the same sense of slightly twisted humor and you don’t mind some bizarre twists to the old story, it’s all good. Just give it a read on your own and decide for best results.
That said, it takes perhaps three minutes or less to get to an ending (more if you’re a slower reader), so expect to get to a bunch of that 45 the first time you pick this up. It’s currently FREE and NLB is also trying to get the game onto Steam Greenlight (go vote for it if you’ve a Steam account!). Some dopes on the Greenlight page are actually complaining about the artwork in the game, but NLB can ignore those fools who don’t grasp stylization or realize that you shouldn’t ever tell any artist HOW to make a storybook look. That, and the CG characters and backgrounds remind me of Access Games’ quirky Deadly Premonition, one of those games that uses its “dated” art style to excellent effect.
Finally, if you like what you see and read, it seems that the game engine is also free to use to cook up your own tales. I can see some writer types I know possibly making use of this at some point. Hey, anything to get more people perusing your work, right? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my “book”. Also, I want some pasties now, as reading about them has made me quite hungry…