9 Story-Driven Games Like Night in the Woods

Games Like Night in the Woods -
Image credit: Finji

Night in the Woods is an impressive game. It has a compelling story with some of the most realistic characters in gaming. That’s a tough act to follow, especially considering how much replay value and quality the game offers overall.

When the time comes to find a new game, the top Night in the Woods alternatives all have something special to offer. These titles aren’t all exact matches, but they definitely have something similar that fans are sure to love.

Across this list, there are games with the same main focus on character and storytelling. Night in the Woods has meaningful themes and some of these games hit similar notes, with thought-provoking stories.

These are the top 9 story-driven games like Night in the Woods. We’ll start off in reverse order, with the best picks for games similar to Night in the Woods at the bottom.

9. Stray

Games Like Night in the Woods - Stray
Annapurna Interactive

Stray is a title with a unique selling point. You get to play as a cat! Unlike Night in the Woods, this isn’t an anthropomorphized cat either, it’s a normal walk-on-all-fours cat.

You play as a cat in third person. The main gameplay is platforming, taking advantage of a cat’s natural athletic abilities. There’s also some puzzles to solve too, where you’ll need to use tools like the cat’s claws to get the attention of NPCs and operate machines. You’ll use all the talents of a cat to progress through the world. 

The game is set in an abandoned city. With no human life there, it’s inhabited by their left-behind robotic servants. Across Stray, you’ll discover more about what happened and what the future could hold. It’s a bigger story than the initial pitch of ‘you’re a cat’ would suggest.

Stray isn’t the longest game, but it leaves a mark. It has an engaging plot and being a cat is a fun twist. This is one of the best games like Night in the Woods both in terms of story content and getting to play as an animal, and it’s one of the best story-rich games on PS5 too.

8. The Gardens Between

Games Like Night in the Woods - the Gardens Between
The Voxel Agents

The Garden Between is a little different from other games in this list as it does have quite a hands-on style of play. This game doesn’t have branching dialogue trees and the level design is more abstract, but it’s got a heavy theme and a lot to unpack.

The Gardens Between on the surface is a simple but intuitive puzzle game. Players progress through a series of puzzle islands. You get to use two different characters and solve various logic puzzles. The goal is to progress to the top of each island and restore the light.

The puzzles aren’t too complicated in The Gardens Between but they are rewarding. This is one of the best puzzle games on Switch and other platforms.

Each island takes a form of a memory, helping you learn more about the characters and their relationship. The levels take iconography from childhood memories and blow them up to huge, island-sized proportions, making for some creative environments.

The game focuses on a pair of teenagers who have been friends since childhood and are navigating the struggles that moving away from friends can cause.

The Gardens Between is a simple game but one that can be very rewarding once you play through. The title has a melancholic feel. Between its simple visuals and soundtrack, it crafts an emotive and beautiful experience.

7. What Remains of Edith Finch

Games Like Night in the Woods - What Remains of Edith Finch
Annapurna Interactive

What Remains of Edith Finch is one of the most engrossing games like Night in the Woods. The player explores a limited space to discover and experience the memories of a family. You learn more about characters and their strange, tragic histories.

Players get to explore the Finch house. This is a winding home with expansive, forgotten space around it. As you make your way around the house, you’ll hear more about Edith Finch and begin to experience memories of dead relatives as you hit each of their respective memorials. These flashbacks all have different, unique art styles.

The story in What Remains is an unusual one. It focuses on a seemingly cursed family, the Finches. Every member has a unique life that seems to reach a strange end.

Throughout the game, you learn more about the various family members. The game’s flashback narrative device helps to make each passage feel unique. It covers a longer period and quite a few characters, providing a unique and varied experience.

What Remains of Edith Finch can be strange in places, but the story has twists and turns that’ll keep players on their toes.

6. Firewatch

Games Like Night in the Woods - Firewatch
Campo Santo

Firewatch is a similar game to Night in the Woods in a few ways, even though the art style is very different. This is a heavily story-driven game that pushes you to really invest in its well-written and lifelike characters.

Firewatch is a game that follows Henry, who has recently become a fire lookout for the summer. The game is set in 1988, with the plot picking up about a month after he starts work.

He’s taken this job as a change of pace from his normal life, which has taken some difficult turns in recent months. His responsibilities include watching out for fires and other problems in the expansive natural park, just a year after the Yellowstone fires.

The game has a first-person view. You are primarily talking things over through a walkie-talkie with Delilah, your supervisor and the main secondary character of the game. Over the course of the game, you’ll get to know Delilah and reveal more of Henry’s background and motives for taking the job.

The game becomes much more interesting with the addition of various mysteries and puzzling plot points. This is one of the best games similar to Night in the Woods, as both mix bigger plot points with smaller, mundane details.

5. Undertale

tobyfox

Undertale is a unique game that’s become known for its very open approach to gameplay. This is a game that isn’t like anything else. It has some similarities with Earthbound. However, it’s a title that takes that style and applies a similar approach to storytelling and characters as games like Night in the Woods. 

Undertale focuses on a child who falls into the Underground. This is a realm beneath the normal world inhabited by various creatures and monsters. You encounter all sorts of colorful characters there.

The breakout character of Undertale is probably the skeleton Sans. However, across the title, you get to meet a lot of different creatures. They can be friends, foes, or something in between, depending on how you play.

Undertale does have some combat, but it is completely optional. Players can go through the game choosing not to kill any enemies. This leads to an entirely different story arc. Characters will react to your changing behavior across multiple runs, developing as you re-play.

The art of Undertale is simple, but it has an impressive style to it. It’s one of the best pixel art games on Steam for some. This game also features a soundtrack that has become iconic. Like Night in the Woods, it uses music to enhance its themes. 

If you were a fan of the multiple-choice elements in Night in the Woods, you’ll love this.

4. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

PlayStation PC LLC

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a story-driven game with a big mystery at its heart. This is one of the best games like Night in the Woods for fans of darker stories.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture takes place in 1984. The player character is exploring a village where everybody has suddenly disappeared. 

The gameplay here primarily consists of walking around a village and exploring. You can interact with various things in the world, but it’s mainly a walking simulator where you gradually unravel the mystery.

Over the course of this exploration, you’ll discover more about different characters, along with the central mystery of the apparent rapture itself. A lot of the storytelling occurs through the medium of various audio pieces you find, broadcasts, and other environmental elements.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture features some of the best environmental storytelling. This is a great pick for fans of games like Night in the Woods if you enjoy a bit of mystery and the chance to explore rich, immersive environments.

3. Celeste

Games Like Night in the Woods - Celeste
Matt Makes Games

Celeste is a great platformer with mechanics that push the difficulty scale pretty far in places. However, it also has engaging characters and a similar theme to Night in the Woods.

The game is about Madeline, who is trying to climb a mountain. Across the journey, you learn more about her and meet others who are climbing mountains of their own. Madeline has plenty of setbacks in getting up the mountain. The climb has a lot of parallels with more personal issues and where she’s at in life in the game.

Celeste’s gameplay is also impressive. A lot of the games like Night in the Woods are mainly walking simulators. However, Celeste offers a different type of experience altogether.

This is a difficult platformer in a lot of places. The game is difficult to finish, especially if you’re looking to complete it fully with all of the collectibles. Even playing just to get through it can challenge those who don’t normally like hard platformers like Celeste.

That being said, the game is also open and accessible. It is difficult but it has a host of accessibility options. This means you can tweak the difficulty to a stage where it isn’t too much of a problem for you. This level of control is great.

These options help to make the game easy for everyone to play, even if a tricky platformer doesn’t normally sound like your thing. The challenges involved in climbing the mountain helps to understand Madeline’s personal experiences, and it’s one of the best platformer games on Steam, hands down.

2. Life is Strange

Games Like Night in the Woods - Life is Strange
Square Enix

Life is Strange is one of the games like Night in the Woods that offers both similar gameplay and a familiar story. This game looks at the pains that go along with coming of age, along with a series of strange and surreal mysteries.

The gameplay in the series is relatively simple, like in Night in the Woods. You walk around the various areas in the game and talk to characters. There are a few puzzles, but the game is mainly driven by dialogue choices. 

Life is Strange deals with Max. In the game, she finds herself gaining the ability to rewind time. However, as she uses the power more and more, disturbances start to happen in the town of Arcadia Bay.

The story draws a lot of inspiration from Twin Peaks. Particularly with how the plotline starts off with the investigation of the death of a young girl just before the game began. 

Life is Strange mainly deals with the personal struggles of coming of age, but with higher stakes. These personal conflicts are happening in a town with a murderer on the loose and an impending disaster. It has a lot in common with Night in the Woods here, especially with the small-town setting.

1. A Short Hike

Games Like Night in the Woods - A Short Hike
Adamgryu

A Short Hike has often been cited as being similar in theme and style to Night in the Woods. Although, while Night in the Woods gets dark, A Short Hike keeps things light.

This title has a much more open design than Night in the Woods, though. Players get to explore an open world park area. The goal is to reach the peak of a mountain to get a signal on a phone. You’ll need golden feathers to make it all the way up, which can be found or bought depending on what bits of the game you want to play.

You play as an anthropomorphic bird. The rest of the park is full of similar creatures. You can play games with these other creatures, like volleyball and fishing. You can also complete side-quests. 

A Short Hike’s visual style isn’t too far from Night in the Woods. It makes the experience a lot more relaxing than it might otherwise be. This title’s writing and dialogue come close to Night in the Woods. It’s got a conversational tone that makes the characters come alive.

The soundtrack in A Short Hike is definitely worth highlighting, too. This is an adaptable soundtrack that naturally changes depending on your activity. Since the game gives players a lot of free reign, the soundtrack adapting with it really enhances things.

A Short Hike is a great title that can be relaxing as well as engaging. It’s one of the closest experiences to Night in the Woods in a few ways, and is worth playing.

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