Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe – Review
Follow Genre: 3D Platformer
Developer: Chubby Pixel
Publisher: Chubby Pixel
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Charming graphics
Bad: Framerate issues affecting gameplay
User Score
9.2
(6 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (6 votes cast)

It’s hard to find the right word to describe Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe. The first word that comes to mind is ambitious, with a world that is roughly ten times as large as that of predecessor Woodle Tree Adventures. Ambitious isn’t the right word, however, as diving deeper into the game shows that the game is actually better described using the word simplicity, albeit in a good way.

Story

As the first scene of the game unfolds, you’re taken to a colorful, whimsical world inhabited by adorable creatures and sentient trees. The opening cutscene feels very much like a scene from a storybook. As the camera glides over the panoramic landscapes, text boxes appear, setting the mood by explaining what this world is like. The friendly mood shifts quickly though, as a cloud of pure darkness takes over the sky. Alongside the cloud, evil critters appear to steal the water tears of the Sage Protectors, turning them into stone. As this happens our protagonist, a sentient tree stump called Woodle is inside his house having a tea party with a fox. They are interrupted because of the commotion and Woodle is summoned to the last remaining Sage Protector, who informs him of the importance of the water tears. Apparently, this was all prophesized. It’s now up to Woodle to recover the stolen water tears and restore the Sage Protectors to life. The story is simple and told with the least amount of dialogue possible. The prophecy angle is a bit cliché but there is an undeniable charm to the simpleness here. This translates to other aspects of the game as well.

Graphics

The graphics are what make this game stand out: it’s colorful, it’s incredibly cute and although it never pushes any graphical boundaries, it works surprisingly well. It’s obvious that a lot of thought has been put in the choices for the primary colors and the character designs that are brilliant in their plainness. It’s unfortunate, however, that despite the assumed simplicity, the game does stutter sometimes, even with the game not pushing any graphical boundaries. This is a gorgeous-looking game that even runs in 1080p while docked, but unfortunately, it suffers from framerate issues. It isn’t always noticeable, but it can become distracting and even deterring at times. While stuttering issues might not affect gameplay in such a way that the game is unplayable, the graphical problems might still affect how accurate it plays when aiming for a platform while jumping or gliding.

Sound

There is no audible dialogue in the game. The music, while atmospheric and fitting the mood, does feel a bit MIDI-ish at times, and can feel repetitive rather fast. The same goes for the sound design. There is a distinct lack of depth to the sound. While this supposedly suits the simplistic style of the game, it does feel like a missed opportunity.

Gameplay

Woodle Tree 2 is one of the very few true 3D platformers on Switch, comparable to a very low-budget version of Super Mario Odyssey. While this may sound condescending, it’s actually meant in the best way possible. As you look for the water tears, which is your main goal, you are free to roam around, explore and discover hidden collectibles -of which there are a lot. Collectible berries, in various colors, can be used to purchase power-ups and new skills for our protagonist. Collecting all the water tears is quite the challenge too: while most are in plain sight, and require platforming skills to reach, others can be hidden and require you to solve puzzles and hit switches in order to reveal them. There is a lot of freedom to be had in this game, although this freedom does bring some issues: some parts of the world feel barren and empty. Chubby Pixel tries to remedy this by placing characters in random places, in an attempt to add more life to the worlds, but these attempts often fall flat. Fortunately, this only happens in a few places, and most of the world is well designed.

In order to explore the world and its various landscapes, including a desert and an ice mountain, Woodle has a ton of moves at his disposal. He is armed with a magical leaf that allows him to glide and slide around the world. This leaf also allows him to collect water to make plants grow and reveal new pathways and can also be used to attack enemies. In addition to the leaf, speed flowers allow our hero to move around quickly and save points double as fast travel points, allowing you to return to places visited instantly. A special mention should be given to the co-op feature: in addition to Woodle himself, up to three players can join as a variety of other characters: a fox, a beaver and a bush. Although these character designs are quite varied, they have the same abilities and are controlled in the same way as Woodle himself, so there is no asymmetrical gameplay here. As the game is clearly aimed at families, with its colorful graphics and simple pick-up-and-play gameplay, the co-op mode is an excellent way to introduce younger gamers to the Switch.

Conclusion

Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe is a game that is worth a look at for those looking for a true 3D platformer or that are enamored by the cutesy art style presented by Chubby Pixel. Although framerate issues might affect gameplay, they are by no means a deal-breaker. It is by no means a perfect game -but it doesn’t strive to be either: sometimes simplicity can be a good thing.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (6 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe - Review, 9.2 out of 10 based on 6 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


1 Comment

  1. Ibuki
    Ibuki
    August 30, 2019, 3:19 am

    Looks like a vast improvement of the first game.

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