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 (131 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 5, 2014
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Recommended By Curators

"So brutal."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“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

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
43.7 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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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
It's a roguelike in that you have but one life to live, but it's a far cry from the average roguelike. It's earned its puzzle tag here on the steam store and definitely favors deliberation. The need for strategy isn't unlike the roguelike genre, for sure, but rather than having to worry about enemies coming to kill you if you make a wrong move, you have to strike a balance between meeting objectives and the energy it will cost you to do so.

There are multiple ways to go about finishing every dungeon, and you don't actually have to complete the dungeon to leave it; find half the children and see them safely home, if that's all you feel you can do. There are different leaderboards, reflecting different things to strive for.

And the game is pleasing to eye and ear.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 20
I would not describe this game as rogue-like. It is more of a puzzle game that has rogue-like puzzles.

While it is cute, I found it lost it's charm rather quickly as the puzzles became very difficult fast.

I would blame the mis-labeling of this game in my frustration with it. I came into this game expecting one thing and getting another. If this were something I was looking to play, I would recommend it. As it is now, I say it is nice but it was not and this confusion left me not liking the game. Just be sure to read the other better reviews if you care to pay attention to reviews.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
48.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Odd mix of rouglike rpg and block throwing puzzle game.

I'm terrible at it, but I'm having a lot of fun.

Procedurally generated puzzles with no undo button are not for the faint of heart.
If you like punishing rouglikes like FTL and you like puzzle games you will probably like this.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
Touching, simplistic, cheerful.

As of when I write this review, I have only gotten into the game a little bit, but from playing this game, I love it. I am pretty sure I have played games like this, but this one sticks out. As a ranger who stumbles on a random village, you hear about children who have gotten lost due to a huge storm and go to save them. It's just hard to describe how much I enjoy this game. To say the least, it is very heart-warming and definitely a game I would recommend buying.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
11.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2014
You can either scream of happiness or anger. This is a very funny game, it's never the same and it can get very challenging. You can craft food or angry ghosts and when that happens you will scream. It's worth the price.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 3, 2014
Addictive, charming, and deceptively difficult. Super recommended for anyone who likes games that put a lot of love into the art design.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
27.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
The gameplay is enjoyable and adjustable in difficulty, making this something I can return to often.

With well-written dialogue, the story becomes interesting and curious, despite not being required to complete the game objectives.

Great work overall, I would gladly buy a sequel.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 23
very very cute+fun game, interesting take on puzzles and resource management in semi-randomly generated levels, complete with a cute+cozy town dating sim thingy
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 16
this is a deceptively simple puzzel game that makes you care bout the people in the world
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
This is a very cute game with extremely challenging and engaging puzzles, an interesting story, dark humor, and some very wonderful secrets. Highly recommend.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2014
It's a great roguelike puzzle game, and it has some of the best looking animals you'll ever see in a video game.
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173 of 193 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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85 of 100 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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26 of 33 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2014
Road Not Taken is great. It is a really well done puzzle-roguelike with a FANTASTIC core mechanic. It is one of those games that absolutely nails the concept of easy to learn, difficult to master. It also has a bleak yet hopeful atmosphere coursing through the entire thing, which I found very charming.

Winter is slowly overtaking a small village. You play as a forest ranger tasked with recovering children lost in the woods. The core mechanic involves combining objects in the forest together to make new ones by picking them up and throwing them. You can also cary objects, but doing so depletes your ever dwindling energy reserves.

There is a staggering number of items and combinations, and it's a LOT of fun to expirament with all the different objects. Some combinations are beneficial, replentishing your energy, allowing you to manipulate the forest easier, and save the kids easier, but others are dangerous, and you should take care not to clumsly throw things around, creating hazardous items accidentally. However, many of the dangerous items can also be turned into bigger benefits if combined correctly. It strikes a really great ballance between risk and reward.

Being a roguelike, it has a LOT of replay value, especially since you can forge relationships with a few of the towns folk. If they like you, they will tell you tips, secrets, and even give you items and accessories to make your job easier, or harder if that's what you're in to! You have the ability to replay the previous year if you really screw things up, but I have also tried starting over from year 1 to leverage all the new combinations I have learned.
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42 of 61 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 16, 2014
Road Not Taken is described as a Roguelike Puzzle game, in which you throw and move objects around with your magic staff to rescue children trapped in the Forest. Some puzzles are hand-crafted, but the majority are procedurally generated.

The Good: The Art and Music are great! Wonderful Art Style and the music is a nice addition to the levels.

The Bad: Procedural generation is a double-edged sword. Yes, you're going to get rooms in which things are laid out in an easily-solvable manner, but you're also going to get rooms that are basically broken (or quickly made so by a bad move). For example, Bear Statues "stick" to nearby objects, so if you get an object in a corner behind a Bear Statue, you are pretty much out of luck. Good luck corraling six Deer or other animals (which move around on their own) to unlock a door. A single novice move can render entire areas of the map inaccessible.

The Ugly: The difficulty curve is brutal, and saps fun out of the game. Year 4 (of 15) seemed to be my Year of Death for a while, but with practice I've made it all the way to Year 8. Of course, Roguelikes have death, but after you die you should have some incentive to want to play again. In RNT, Death only occurs after several frustrating rounds of losing life/energy, and then when you are at your weakest, the Doom Spirits hunt you down and kill you. Where is the fun in that!?

The Save/Checkpoint system actively discourages you from using it - what is up with that?

I know people will argue that the game is about hard choices and you aren't intended to save every single child in each individual year - but that makes me wonder about the narcissistic sociopaths who lack empathy for children freezing to death in the Forest.

In summary, my chief complaint is that the game is more frustrating than fun. There’s potential here, but in Road Not Taken’s current state, I cannot recommend it.
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26 of 34 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 9, 2014
Love the game. The artwork is great. I love the soundtrack, and the story makes me want to know more.
The game is a rogue-like puzzle-game. You are a ranger who's job is to save the kids who are lost in the woods. While not in a level you can socialize with the npcs in the town by giving them gift. You will get items and secrets this way. You can also have a wife/husband. Personally i got attached to one of the npcs quite fast.
If you love puzzlegames that can be played through multiple times (random level generation) you got to play this game. The money you spent on this game will be worth it.
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44 of 66 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2014
What a great little game. It's a top-down puzzle game where you have to reunite lost children with their families and create useful tools by "combining" objects in the area. Music is especially nice; it's a series of New Orleans dirges.

Pretty challenging; highly recommended.
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
17.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 6, 2014
When I first saw this game I wasn't sure what to think, but I gave it a go, and I'm glad I did.
It's definitely worth the price. Even if you're not normally in to puzzle games (I'm not) it's still very fun. Though there is a puzzle element (okay, more than just an element) it's mostly a logic thing. There have only been a few "puzzles" that I've seen that have any distinct way of beating, and for the most part, it's just matching/moving things around so you can get to the children to rescue them, in whatever way ends up being the most efficient for you.

The good:
-Procedurally generated levels mean there's a lot of replay ability.
-You can make friends with the villagers and they'll give you gifts, and you can even get married! :3
-Challenging, in a good way. If you think and plan enough you should be able to overcome any challenges it throws at you.. and it will throw a lot at you.
-Adorable graphics (as I have come to expect from Spry Fox)
-The music and sound effects are perfect.

The bad:
-Eventually, constant failing gets aggrivating... though that could just be me.
-As far as I can tell, when the villagers get sick there's no way to make them better... I've pumped them full of medicine for DAYS and they stay sick... not really sure what to do about that.
-If you die, you lose your stuff, which isn't a problem (I'm aware that that's what Rogue-likes are like) except that there isn't really much of a way to get them back. You can become friends with the villagers, and they MIGHT give you an item.. but there's no way to really guarantee that you'll ever be able to get back the items you've lost (EG the "Fork of eating alone")

This game is amazing, the flaws aren't really flaws.. I mean, if you never fail then you never have to worry about losing your gear, or the heartbreak of losing (though you may have heartbreak of a different kind if the villager you want decides to leave you, and start dating a man...), it's more than worth the money that you pay for it, on sale or not.
I'm not normally into puzzle games, and I can't really get enough of this one :)
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 10, 2014
What can you say about this game? Well, it's georgeous and a new take on the whole puzzle-genre. Imagine a mix between Spelunky or The Binding of Isaac, a new take on chess and Braid. Hard to imagine I guess, so try it for yourself. It will blow your mind. I would say this is THE best puzzle game I've played this year, it might even be one of the best games released this year, all-categories. A strong recommendation. And you might notice that this is one of my few reviews, which means this has a special place in my heart. 10/10, simply amazing art-style, magical music and sound, great gameplay, simple but touching story and a whole new idea for how a puzzle game should be like. Again, 10/10.
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