Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. You play as a ranger adventuring through a vast, unforgiving forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm, rescuing children who have lost their way.
User reviews: Very Positive (183 reviews) - 86% of the 183 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 5, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"So brutal."
Read the full review here.


“It looks like a cute fairy tale, but this is a turn-based game that’s thorny with challenge and packed with an incredible number of gameplay secrets.”
Should you play this game: YES – Kotaku

“Road Not Taken is the cutest catalyst for an existential crisis I've ever encountered”
4.5 out of 5 – Joystiq

“It’s as mean as life, as cruel as the universe, and it still manages to be one of the most intriguing and moving titles released this year.”
90 out of 100 – GamesBeat

About This Game

Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. You play as a ranger adventuring through a vast, unforgiving forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm, rescuing children who have lost their way. Randomly generated levels deliver a limitless supply of possibilities to explore and challenges to overcome. Your actions will influence not only your own story, but that of the villagers you hope to befriend and the town you call home.

Story Details:

Each time you play Road Not Taken, you're likely to experience a very different story. The paths you take will change; the relationships you pursue will twist in ways you did not expect. Which, as it happens, is just like real life.

The villagers of Road Not Taken believe that there is an optimal path through life: a good person gets a job, falls in love and has children. You won't follow this path. Can you find your own unique way through a life?

Gameplay Details:

No path leads to the same destination in Road Not Taken. The trails you take will change, the relationships you pursue will twist in ways you might not expect, and the narrative you create with every action will be yours to decide. Every playthrough offers new and unusual creatures to encounter, secrets and items to discover, townsfolk to build relationships with, and devilish, hand-crafted puzzle rooms to solve.

Brains, Not Brawn

Your character has the magical ability to levitate and move objects. You must figure out how to use your talents and tactics to circumvent or defeat a wide variety of dangerous creatures, obstacles, and boss encounters.

Get Lost in the Wild

Road Not Taken is brought to life with gorgeous 2D artwork, expressively charming sprite design, and an evocative, atmospheric soundtrack. Every puzzle is a challenge of exploration and strategy, testing players to think before taking each step forward.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
25 of 31 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
24.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 16
I would want to like this game, I really do. Still for me it was much more frustration than fun experience. At first Road Not Taken looks absolutely charming - cute graphics and characters with some hints of personality, fun puzzles and mechanic. But unfortunately game becomes more and more hard with each level, until you find a point that you couldn't take. For me it was 9 level. Any "undo" button simple doesn't exist and it's super easy to make a mistake and grab item, that you don't want and BAM! - you screwed it all. You cannot just replay one level, you need to play all over again. I understand, that part of my disappointment comes from the fact, that it's a roguelike game (and i never try one before), still all this "one simple mistake and you lose a game" feels pretty unfair and frustrating.
So I suggest you: don't look on on cute side, think it over! If you like hard games, that punish you for every mistake, if you like puzzles and roguelike in general - consider to buy Road Not Taken. If you like me and not a fan of whole "screw all in few seconds with simple wrong move and start all over" thing - better think again.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 8
A cute puzzle game. It's hard to describe.
Your goal: To save all the lost children in the woods and reunite them with their parents.

Your energy free controls are to move up/downleft/right, to pick up everything around you in the four directions, and to throw them all at once. If you move while holding something it will take precious energy. You can match several of similar items, or different items, depending on "secrets" (crafting recipe?) that you learn through play or from villagers. Like throwing the axe at a tree makes a log, and throwing two logs next to each-other makes a campfire which reduces the cost of carrying things on that screen, or putting three beehives together makes a jar of honey which gives you a little bit of energy.

Sounds simple, but while the controls are simple, the puzzle nature of trying to get to the kids, get them to their parents (or vice versa), get the kids to the starting area, or open pathways to another part of the forest can be complex. Sometimes it's downright frustrating but not in a bad game design way, just a yell obsceneties at the angry racoons who claw you if get next to them, or ninja bears who might block your path randomly way.

Don't let the art style fool you, this game starts off fairly easy, but difficulty can spike. You won't always save all the kids, but that's okay. You can quit trying to help them at any time, but saving half or more of the kids is the minimum to make the mayor okay with your work. (Edit: Apparently failing to save half the kids 2x in a row kills you causing the revive mechanics to fire where you lose some of your items.)

There's an aspect of the game of getting to know the villagers that essentially breaks down to giving them the right gifts to raise your friendship bar. I got married to one just before the end of my first game! I'll definitely be playing at least one more full game of this title because the levels are somewhat randomly generated so it has replayability.
One full game took me between 5-6 hours.
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180 of 200 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
137.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2014
Lore-wise, this game is interactive poetry. Instead of beating you over the head with a point that can't be avoided, it delivers bits and pieces to not tell just a story, but to provide deep themes about life, love, and loss. The keenly aware will pick up on the things that make up these themes, and what the final message appears to be, yet there's plenty of room for interpretation - In much the same way classic poetry does. I wish more games were like this.

Gameplay-wise, it takes elements of classic block sliding puzzles and crafting-based matching, dresses it up with beautiful art, and packages it in rougelike tropes. Success relies on thoughtfulness, planning, and situational adaptability. It's both casual and challenging. The better you get at the game, the more rewarding it becomes to finish each year with all the children saved and at a minimum cost to your energy levels.

There are lots of secrets, tactics and strategies, and surprises.
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87 of 102 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 6, 2014
Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. But life is so often content with stagnation and repetition, offering what seems the same grind over and over and over, soon only occasionally taunting with the glimmer of something new. But that’s just the way of things; everything new becomes old, in time. Eventually, new just begins to run out. RNT follows a similar cycle; in the beginning, discovering all these new things and how you can change and adapt them to your uses is exciting and intoxicating. But soon enough, the new is exhausted , and with it, the allure of the prospect of new discoveries waiting just behind each locked gate. RTN is profusely entertaining up until you realize this point has come, but even after then, its unique and challenging formula saves it for a time, despite other issues, both glaring and minute.

RNT plays off its theme of “life’s little mysteries” remarkably well in its gameplay. As the town’s new ranger, you’re tasked in each of your years with rescuing the children lost to the woods during each winter’s storm. To deliver them safely, you’ll have to guide each to any of the waiting mothers, wherever they may be, using your limited amount of energy in carrying the odds and ends populating each level. The greatest joy had in this game also provides its greatest challenge; the discovering of new items and creatures that can both greatly hinder or assist you in your search. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the number of ways things can interact, with many even able to change into new forms entirely, given the proper combination. You’ll quickly begin filling your travel book with all manner of creatures and their respective “recipes”. Eventually, puzzles that seemed impossible in the beginning are soon found to have only been so due to your own ignorance of some combination relevant to the situation.

But here’s the rub, and it’s one that eventually hinders all games of this sort. After a while, it’s very noticeable which pieces the game favors, and which ones have yet to appear more than once, if even that. There’s a handful of items and creatures that are exceptionally common, changing in relation to your years. In my playthroughs, those handfuls have been identical. The aforementioned variety in items and enemies becomes less so when the same few common assets are used ad nauseam, which is a shame, given the inventiveness of some of the lesser used pieces.

In between winters, your time is spent in the town you call home. Here, you can take your hard earned coins, rice, berries, etc, and trade them for townsfolk’s friendship, a la the story of Rainbow Fish. In return, you may receive helpful recipes for your book, or even better, equip-able trinkets. Early earned trinkets’ perks are useful in smaller capacities, but the greater are earned through repeat visits. They, along with the tradeables found in the forest, make up the other half of the Roguelike formula, namely the part that you lose upon death. Make too many mistakes, resulting in zero energy or too few children saved, and all of these are lost. Given the time investment needed to get the better ones, I’ll admit to believing this a bit harsh, especially since death can often be the result of truly unfair elements brought on by the roguelike system, like unavoidable loss of children to enemies or rare, impassible gates due to poor default placement of pieces.

A point of contention for me lies here as well, particularly in the store page’s embellishment of a winding, twisting narrative, unique to each journey. The only narrative comes in the townsfolk, who remain constant, personalities and dialogue alike. Even their preferences in tradeables remains identical between playthoughs. The only change is that of color scheme, and which one is most willing to marry you, which becomes readily apparent early on. Despite store page promises of offering the opportunity to lead a unique life each playthrough, the character with obvious affection for you will always yield trinkets and info for fewer tradeables. There’s no reason to invest in anyone else.

Regardless of my issues with it (mostly with the not-so-random level randomization), RNT is tremendous fun, and it’s a unique challenge that I’m going to continue playing, if only to try and earn the remaining pages to my travel book. In retrospect, my biggest issues could easily be rectified with a few randomization patches, or better yet, a future DLC expansion. As it is, the journey slowly loses its luster more than several hours in, but it never loses its shine altogether. The combination of some amusingly humorous travel book entries, a charming art design and some legitimately unsettling sound work help to mask the budding feeling of familiarity on repeat journeys. I think what’s most disappointing is that despite the game’s want to emulate the unpredictability of life, it has instead exemplified how easily it can fall into routine and predictability. While the initial few hours and playthrough are wholly the most entertaining, a lackluster attempt at differentiating narrative and the occasional sense of déjà vu on later playthroughs only slightly diminish an otherwise fantastic puzzle-rogue.
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33 of 34 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
69.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
I´ve been playing this game for the last month and the more I do, the more I like it. It is a good puzzle game with a storyline that is actually consistent throughout! The graphs are super cute, the music and sound effects are great, the character interactions are very nice too (and the characters looks vary on each career).

Your choices have an effect on the outcome of the game: everything -from how many kids you decide to save to what gifts you give and what relationships you build with whom or what bonuses you decide to use- determines what pluses you´ll get and whether you´ll end up your career more or less successfully.

As I said, the game look is really cute, but one thing I really liked is that despite it´s design cuteness -or maybe because of it- it is still able to also give a slightly creepy and even acid atmosphere: The doctor, or the way the Mayor takes your choice of saving more or less kids could be good examples. Other surpirses I rather not reveal as to not spoil the fun, but let´s just say that experimentation and interaction has its rewards.

As for difficulty, the game instructions are fairly simple, so it is easy to get started. The gameplay itseld has a gradual increase of diffculty in its main story mode, plus it also has a timed version and a extra-difficult option too. It is worth mentioning again that inside a career, your performance on a year will affect the difficulty of the years to follow, if only because of the amount of energy you´ll have to deal with each level. So besides dealing with each level´s intrinsic difficulty you should have some strategy and consider future levels.

To me this is a very entertaining and well thought game. I don´t feel too guilty if I spend time playing it because not only do I have fun, I actually have the feeling I am using my brain. It can be re-played several times, which is a plus to me. If you like puzzles, charming design and eerie sense of humor try this one out.
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