Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood – Review
Follow Genre: Narrative Puzzle Adventure
Developer: Devespresso Games
Publisher: HeadUp
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood – Review

Site Score
Good: Top tier soundtrack
Bad: Some trial and error puzzles
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

South Korean developer Devespresso Games, whose tagline is “Seoul is our playground. Espresso is our creative fuel” brings us Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood. Their fourth release backed by Headup, Devespresso Games has managed to quickly build a reputation for deep, interactive storytelling, with more than its fair share of twists and turns.


Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood is quick to move forward with a brief but emotive introduction involving music contracts and spurned bandmates in the “real world” before Scarlet is violently dragged to the realm of Glome. Scarlet awakens in this strange land after getting tossed by a tornado. Through more than a few unfortunate events, she finds herself in charge of leading a hapless Munchkin troupe through the Wicked Wood to safety. One problem though as the ghastly Black Witch, LeFaba, has a habit of incinerating would-be travelers that detour through her forest. Scarlet may be woefully outmatched, but a hex has her reliving the same day; allowing her to try again and again. This bizarre series of twists and turns takes heavily from many stories, placing Scarlet in an odd blend of The Wizard of Oz, the works of the Brothers Grimm, and Groundhog Day. However, we found the result to be refreshing and original, delivering a tale that manages to keep you invested, if not always surprising. And with choices affecting how the story plays out, as well as the ending, it promises to keep you entertained for far more than just the one playthrough.

The game actually has a total of ten endings you can get, with eight of them having achievements attached to them. What you end up doing in each of the three areas of the game will determine the ending you’ll get. For example, if you managed to rescue all of the heroes or rescued only one, or aimed for other solutions, all have different endings attached to them which ultimately decide the fate of LeFaba, and what happens to Scarlet in the long run. Overall, there is a fair bit of replay value that comes with this one.


The simple 2D side-scrolling visuals with static backgrounds give Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood a very timeless feel (pun intended). With its carefully hand-drawn manhwa art style (typically used to describe the South Korean Comic Book style), Devespresso Games has created a colorful and beautiful comic panel setting. The use of this hand-drawn style gives the game a timeless quality, leaving you with the feeling that this point-and-click adventure is accessible for both young and old. With an array of environments from start to finish, there is a clear impression of the huge amount of effort and passion that went into creating these stunning visuals.


Another highlight of the game, which can only be described as exceptional, is the audio. From jazzy music to thematic background noises, every noise in the game is carefully crafted to immerse the player. Besides the fun soundtrack, which has unsurprisingly been released as an album alongside the game, the background audio is amazingly well-tailored to move with the art. We first noticed this when entering the cave area when we first landed in Glome. The echoing noises and effects seamlessly fading away to more clear-cut sounds when we moved to the open were so well done we couldn’t help but enjoy it. Such a simple and obvious change drew our attention and allowed us to appreciate it more for the rest of the game. One thing that stood out as odd, however, was the variable voiceover. Voices were present during cinematics, but for the vast majority of the game, there is no accompaniment to the dialogue. While not a con in any particular way, it did seem unusual at times.


The apparent aim of the developers was to create a standout and original point-and-click adventure, with deep narrative, engaging puzzles and unusual mechanics; much of which they deliver! Throughout Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood, you’ll be able to explore beautiful areas where you’ll find some puzzles that you have to solve, as well as find items for both story progression and support for Scarlet. These items can be obvious and readily seen, or only by being close enough to them will an indicator appear. The latter makes some items significantly harder to find. Though some of these items are needed to progress through puzzles, you can also find consumables that will heal your wounds, afflictions, or help with Scarlet’s stamina. There are additional, rarer, support items that can be used to reveal hidden coins, and mana gems that will show hidden interactions or the way certain characters went for a short time. Special notes can also be found that give you more lore on the area and on where Seelie Shrines are, which can boost your newfound powers.

Unlike many similar games, it is not a simple matter of just wandering around, clicking and combining items. Items that you need to progress are collected and used when relevant, puzzles are varied and challenging, and wandering around aimlessly can spell certain death. An interesting and enjoyable aspect of the game was the need to be aware of what was happening around Scarlet. One mistake is the difference between progressing onwards, and being skewered by a wandering Dobodo Knight or being chewed up by LeFaba’s familiar; the dreaded Brer Wolf. All these dangers can be avoided however with an array of tricks, magical abilities, and alternate pathways. Never fear death, however, as the hex on Scarlet keeps her from dying permanently, allowing her to relive her day as many times as she needs to in order to succeed!

Though it is not always clear what the next steps are, or how a puzzle might be solved, there are many choices and options available to the player throughout the game, despite its relatively short length of play.


Overall, there is very little to criticize Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood for, and much to praise. The criticism is largely down to just a few puzzles that to us didn’t seem to make sense and were more trial and error. We may have just been unable to have figured them out due to our own failings, but it seems to us that the hints were never there to begin with. But with few technical or play issues, a fantastic soundtrack, gorgeous artwork, and an entertaining story, we can’t think of any reason not to buy this modestly priced game and give it a whirl yourself.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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