Did you ever dream of being fox, straying freely through beautiful and lush woodlands? No? Nevermind, Auf Abwegen, developed by Kindman and published by InSayn has you covered nevertheless.
Well, you are not actually playing a fox. You are playing a guy playing a fox in a simulation. The reason is simple: Earth has apparently been devastated and now everyone lives in space. That may sound rather grim, but is not Auf Abwegen’s focus, just hinted at.
Auf Abwegen — whose German title translates as “On the Wrong Path” — is not truly post-apocalyptic, however. We never see Earth, only the simulation and its interface — which appears to be based on MS-DOS. With almost childlike enthusiasm, the anonymous man playing the simulation discovers the (potentially extinct) fox for himself.
Despite the setting, Auf Abwegen is still less traumatising than The Animals of Farthing Wood. That said, it shares a lot of similarities with its TV adaptation thanks to hand-drawn backgrounds and characters that stand out nicely.
These graphics are Auf Abwegen’s strong point. The game looks very pretty and atmospheric. The gameplay is, unfortunately, less convincing. Auf Abwegen is puzzle platformer. Move your fox from left to right, run and jump, collect food for you family, and escape hunters and their hounds.
That is all well and good, but not executed in any particularly interesting way. The control are alright, but a bit stiff and not always responsive and some of the puzzles are rather opaque. Auf Abwegen is not a long game either and can be completed in less than an hour.
In the game’s defence, it is available for free and at the end of the day, the environmental message is not bad. Give it a try, if only for the looks atmosphere. No knowledge of German is required, as subtitles are included.
Auf Abwegen is now available for PC via Steam.