Game Reviews, Gaming

The Path: A game that may be forever lost to time.

The Path: A game that may be forever lost to time.

The History And Development of The Path

The Path is a walking simulator psychological horror game developed by Tale of Tales on the 18th of March in 2009. Tale of Tales is quite infamous for creating games that are more like art projects than actual games, their main philosophy surrounding the game was that it was not meant to be played in the traditional sense. There is technically no right or wrong strategy, you just have to stray from the path to figure out the story.

Although funding for the game was tough, as many corporations didn’t want to give them money, and finding modellers was even tougher (as both owners behind Tale of Tales had a clear vision for what they wanted the game to look like), the game was eventually underway.

The Gameplay And Story Part 1: Meet The Sisters.

The game introduces you to six different sisters, aged nine to nineteen and all named after a shade of red. Each sister is seen in an apartment building, hanging out, doing their own thing.

You have the youngest sister Robin. At nine years old, playing with a toy car.

Rose, at eleven years old, petting a rabbit.

Ginger, at thirteen years old, messing with a stick.

Ruby, at fifteen years old, living out her angsty teen life by being bored at a table.

Carmen, at seventeen years old, trying on a baseball cap.

And last, but not least, Scarlett, at nineteen years old, who is seen assumedly making a phone call to someone.

After clicking on your girl of choice, a short cutscene will play that also serves as the intro for the game. Once the cutscene ends you see your girl of choice standing on a road with one main objective. Stay on the Path. But, like a child told to go to sleep at eight o’clock. We don’t.

The Gameplay And Story Part 2: To Follow Or Not To Follow. That Is The Question.

The main objective of the game is simple. Go to Grandmother’s house, and deliver her some bread and wine. While there is a nice bright clearly safe path right in front of you, you also have the option of running away into the forest and shirking all of your granddaughterly duties.

While yes, you can just follow the path and be a good little child, this will reward you with an F. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a Dreaming Mary situation on our hands. Even though this came out years before Dreaming Mary, but let’s just ignore that.

What I mean is, while the game attempts to hold your hand so you reach a certain conclusion, disobeying the game itself rewards you with more lore and an overall better experience. The game even gives you the option to go back onto the path, by AFKing for long enough, a young girl in a white dress will show up and lead you back to the path, disallowing you to go back into the forest.

Reaching Grandmother’s house normally will turn the game into a first-person visual novel simulator, as you rapidly click to make your main character move throughout the house before ending up in your Grandmother’s bedroom. As the girl of your choice lies down next to the Grandmother, the camera zooms in on her face, before she opens her eyes and you are taken to get your score.

Gameplay And Story Part 3: Exploring the Woodlands (Spoiler Free Edition)

Okay so, I kinda have to talk about each of the sister’s stories as obligated by me, so, if anything I have said has interested you, The Path is currently available on Steam and for less than £10, though do be warned, its made with very old technology and can be very buggy on some computers.

There is a free demo available for you to download on Steam, so I recommend seeing if your computer can run that without issue, even if it can’t there are many helpful people on the official Path discussion board who may be able to help.

Got all that? Okay. Let’s move on. The forest itself is seemingly never-ending. Constantly looping itself, with no end in sight. Exploring for long enough, you will be able to find items on the ground, such as used needles, bullets, and even a two-headed franken teddy bear.

Opening your inventory and clicking on the item will prompt the girl of your choice to spew out a line of dialogue that tells you more about them. Sometimes, you will find character-specific items that can only be interacted with by a certain girl.

On top of this, there are a few unique locations to find, these include a graveyard, theatre, playground and even a campsite. Each girl even has a different piece of dialogue for entering each location and certain objects provide different animations. Do you see how much detail has been put into this game?

Gameplay And Story Part 4: Exploring The Woodlands (Spoilers galore)

Alright, now is the time where I put a big fat spoiler warning up. Everything past this point is a spoiler, okay? Okay. When your main character finds that character-specific item that was mentioned before, you will unlock a special room in grandmother’s house. Finding three of these items will net you all three special rooms in Grandmother’s house.

There are also, a selection of wolves. No, not the ones from Teen Wolf. But more threatening symbolic figures each girl has. These range from an actual wolf to Lucius Malfoy with long nails, to an imposter of the girl in the white dress except she’s in a red dress.

The trips to grandmother’s house are nightmarish after unlocking all three rooms. The audio used is incredibly effective, without exaggeration, going through these special rooms made me feel chills crawl up my arm. Not many games can do that to me. So, that’s gotta mean at least something.

Anyways, once each girl finds their specified area, they will meet their wolf, in which a short cutscene will play showing the player character interacting with their wolf, before the screen cuts to black and they wake back up in front of grandmother’s house looking injured.

And once you enter the nightmarish rooms mentioned before replace the original nice rooms that were once there.

Once you’ve completed the girl’s nightmarish path, she will disappear, with only the unplayed characters being left.

Gameplay And Story Part 5: Robin Red And The Big Bad Wolf

Alright, it’s time we talk about the six main girls themselves. If you somehow haven’t connected the twenty dots that have been scattered throughout the article let me catch you up to speed, the game is based on the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, with our first and youngest girl Robin being the closest to that original fairy tale.

At nine years old, Robin has yet to learn about the dangers and concerns of the real world. She finds bullets pretty, thinks a used needle is candy, and believes that wolves are cute cuddly creatures that everyone should play with. She is oblivious to how the world actually is which only serves to cause her misfortune later down the line.

As mentioned before, each girl has three specific items relating to them, Robin’s items are an open unmarked grave, a swing and a shopping cart, each with unique dialogue associated with them.

Once reaching grandmother’s house and walking inside, the first room is now covered in scratch marks with a loud growling sound in the background, the entire house is bathed in blue light and as you ascend the forever winding staircase you will come across a crib with a birds nest in it, along with five chairs with a sixth rocking chair sat above, each of the five ground chairs have presents and balloons attached to them along with what can be presumed to be a birthday cake due to the candles.

In the final room, we find a figure that suspiciously looks like a body taped to a bed with a dug grave right in front of it, with the moon shining in the background. As Robin falls into the grave, we hear a crack before images of Robin and the wolf flash on screen. These images include Robin with scratch marks over her, Robin’s legs distorted and messed up, the wolf pulling on Robin’s hood and a picture of the wolf itself.

Once we get our rank, we cut back to the main living room with each of the Reds. Only now, Robin is nowhere to be found.

Robin’s route is representative of her finally learning the dangers of the world, more specifically about her own mortality and death. While she initially sees everything through a childlike lens, eventually the lens is broken as she is seemingly severely injured by the wolf. She now knows that what she perceived as cute and cuddly was actually a dangerous monster and has (possibly quite literally) seen her life flash before her eyes.

However, one interesting thing is how the wolf itself is characterised, yes ladies and gentlemen, the wolf itself has a characterisation. Allegedly, one of the developers on the blog had this to say about the wolf “He sort of passively wanders around. Robin is more aggressive than he is.” so it seems that the wolf itself isn’t inherently malicious, which lines up with what we see in-game, as he does not bother Robin until she jumps onto his back.

Gameplay And Story Part 6: Rose Red And Her Whirlwind Wolf Encounter

Rose, at eleven years old, is described to be mature for her age, which she seems to have internalised as she dresses almost like a wise old woman. However, her dialogue distinctly tells the tale of someone who cannot grasp the moral greyness of the real world.

For example, when Rose finds a dead bird she says mentions how an evil being must have killed it, even though it could have just been a fox or something else of that nature. Rose sees nature and life as beautiful things, and while, unlike Robin, she is not blind to the evil in the world, she cannot see past her black-and-white thoughts.

Rose’s three unique items are a skull, a well, and a raven that can be only found by walking on the actual path, shocker.

Her wolf encounter is found via a suspicious lake with a rickety old boat next to it. Now most of us when we notice suspicious lakes with ancient boats would back the hell away for fear of getting no-scoped by Nessy. However, as Rose does not fear the wrath of good old Nessy, she hops aboard the boat, sailing along until she meets her wolf.

Rose’s wolf takes the form of the wind, except it’s in the shape of an adult man, it acts like a tornado, spinning around the boat, and eventually, we see Rose also get lifted up as well, before the screen fades to black.

Once stepping inside Grandmother’s house, things have changed again, this time the first room has the fan upside down, the second room has completely morphed into a red bathroom that seems endlessly long hallway of cubicles, we are then shoved into another endless hallway, this time decorated with doors as the rooms continue to flood more and more, before walking through a pair of twin doors into a greenhouse.

After walking through another door at the end of the light, we come to Grandmother’s room, which is now a replica of the storm wolf man himself, throwing a messy tantrum around the room as Rose is knocked over. We then get a flash of images including Rose in unnatural positions, and a close-up of the windy wolf man.

Rose’s story is definitely the most divisive among the fandom, some say its Rose finally realising that her black-and-white thinking is wrong, others say it’s a spiritual journey about religion, and even some people have tied it to her always being told she was mature for her age, and as a result, burning herself out by trying to be too perfect.

Personally, I believe that, while riding on the rickety old boat, Rose finally realised she may not be as wise as she thinks she is. Considering her wolf is a cloud of mass destruction, and Rose makes several comments about having her head in the clouds, it would be no surprise that all of this is a metaphor for her head being so far into the clouds (her delusions of being a wise old woman) that she can’t see just how little she knows about the world.

But that’s just a theory. A Path theory! Now we move on.

Gameplay And Story Part 7: Ginger Red And Her Blood-Covered Friend.

Trust me. The title will make sense later. Ginger, at 13 years old, is in that awkward age of not knowing whether you’re a kid or a teenager, and, unfortunately. She is in the dreaded “Not Like Other Girls” faze. I felt all the cringey memories come flooding back. Ugh.

Anyways, Ginger is noted to be a tomboy, she often plays with stereotypically masculine toys such as dinosaurs and little green men that look like veterans.

Ginger’s three special items are a dead tree located in the graveyard from Robin’s route, a locked shack found in the campsite (something we’ll come to later) and a barbed wire fence. Ginger’s wolf is found in a bright field of flowers, the only time the forest appears inviting at all.

In a cutscene, Ginger lies down in the bright field before a young girl who looks suspiciously like the girl in white but with a red dress (no you cannot make an Among Us joke), she covers Ginger’s eyes before running away, but Ginger was never the type to give up on a challenge, so she sprints after the girl in red before tackling the girl and laying down with her as the screen fades to black.

Once Ginger reawakens, we are once again lying in front of Grandmother’s rainy house looking injured before we slowly walk inside and to our doom. Grandmother’s house has once again metamorphosised this time the first room includes gated windows, and black hair strung about everywhere, with each door now also being covered in rusted chainlink.

The second room has us turn into a tiny Ginger and run underneath a few beds, one filled with toy soldiers and another empty, before moving past a few more toys. After jumping off of the seesaw, we reach another hallway still covered in black hair before we reach the final room.

The final room is covered in bloodstained mattresses, and falling feathers, the black hair continues to do a Rapunzel cosplay as it is strewn about across the floor before Ginger collapses. The images we get are two pictures of Ginger’s face, one of her neck elongated and bent out of shape, another with her legs being covered in barbed wire, and one of the girl in red with barbed wires over her hands.

Like Roses, there is a bit of contention about what Ginger’s story is about, some say it’s about gender and or sexuality, while others believe it could be about forbidden love or the rejection of femininity.

The most common theory, and the one I believe the most, is that this is a story about puberty, and, menstrual cycles. Now, if you’re uncomfortable with the discussion of menstrual cycles, go ahead and skip to the next section. But for the rest of us, the bloody mattresses are very reminiscent of bleeding all over your bed because your sleep and hygiene be damned when periods come to town.

The barbed wire between Ginger’s legs could also be reminiscent of how painful cycles are, and having that barbed wire all around the house could symbolise how Ginger is afraid of puberty as a whole being just as bad is not worse than the pain she’s experiencing through her period.

Gameplay And Story Part 8: Ruby Red And Her Dangerously Reckless Wolf Friend

Ruby is your stereotypical goth girl. And also acts as the poster child for the game, she wears dark makeup, talks about death and always shares her thoughts in a morbidly self-deprecating way. She talks about wanting to smoke cigarettes, mentions taking the “path of needles” when staring at a used syringe, and almost all of her dialogue is coated in morbid philosophical remarks about death.

Ruby’s free unique items are a wrecked car, a wheelchair and a scarecrow’s head. Her wolf is found in the playground, sitting on a bench, smoking a cigar. Ruby heads over and goes to sit with him, takes his cigar and has a go herself. She struggles at first, but much like a murderous golden rabbit, she comes back from the pain and tries again.

Once the scene is over, we once again wake up in front of Granny’s house, once again we enter and suddenly everything has pulled a Doki Doki Literature Club because now it’s spooky. The house is now light in neon colours, with urns welcoming you in.

The second room has now transformed into some kind of locker room, as we pass through a stretching hallway of lockers with such loud music that I sincerely regret playing Ruby’s rooms with headphones.

We are then taken to every Dyspraxics person’s nightmare, a school sports hall, or gymnasium if you’re American. Once there we walk inside of a birdcage that appears to believe that it is a wreaking ball as we are swung back and forth until it finally breaks and falls to the floor. 

Once on the ground, there will be a smokey car waiting for us, once we pass through some rooms that look like car engines, we reach Grandmother’s room with a spinning bed with a piece of wall stuck into it.

After Ruby is hit with a piece of swinging wall, we are met with images of Ruby’s limp arm, her face with a crack in it, the same image of Ruby’s face covered in green stains, a picture of the wolf, a strange lump that appears to be a person and Ruby’s body lying in an awkward pose.

Ruby’s story is probably one of the most straightforward besides Robin’s. It’s heavily implied that she got into a car accident that messed up her leg in a way that is most likely permanent. It also heavily implied that her wolf was the one who got her into the accident.

As a whole, I believe Ruby’s story is about her falling in with a bad crowd and being influenced into smoking and possibly also doing drugs. The wolf was most likely the person who got her into these bad habits and now as a result, she is stuck with a messed up leg. It’s also possible Ruby used to be athletic as seen with the gym hall.


Gameplay And Story Part 8: Carmen And The Woodsman

This is important so please don’t skip this. Carmen’s story, unfortunately, involves possible SA (sexual assault) and grooming. If anything mentioned above makes you uncomfortable or is in any way triggering, please skip to the next section. Thank you.

At 17 years old, Carmen believes she’s a mature woman. Ready to delve into the world of romance and explore what life has to offer.

Carmen’s three items are a beer can, a fireplace and the bathtub. Carmen’s wolf takes the form of a middle-aged woodsman, chopping down a tree near the campsite. She then proceeds to take his hat before sitting down by the campfire, the woodsman sits down next to her and offers her a beer, she drinks it and then the screen begins to fade to black.

Once Carmen reawakens and heads inside, Grandmother’s house new sports a sawblade instead of a ceiling fan each door now has a giant red X marked on them and the foreboding sound of a pickaxe can be heard in the background.

The first special room features three stacked mattresses with a chair on top, as well as five chairs sitting next to a tree trunk in a filled pool. Once heading into the room, you can hear the sound of a girl humming.

Heading up a long wooden staircase, the background noise now includes heavy breathing, wolf groans and, shall we say “aroused” sounds that sound like they’re coming from a male. Once coming to a stuffed dear head with glowing eyes, we fall through a hole in the floor and continue heading through the doors until we come to a room that has a trail of fire on one side.

The final room replacing grandmother’s house shows an empty bed with a tree growing through the middle, all at once a barrage of distorted loud sounds come at us the moment we get close to the bed before we are hit in the back of the head and fall down.

The final images show Carmen’s face with an X drawn on it, another image of her with fire-like scribbles drawn over her, one of Carmen’s mouth with red lines coming out of it. Another of Carmen on all fours with her neck bent oddly, and finally, one of the wolf looking like he’s about to swing something.

I think it’s best to address the elephant in the room. Yes, Carmen’s story is about negative sexual experiences. And yes, there it is very likely that she is a victim of sexual assault.

Carmen drinking the beer with the woodsman, and the aroused sounds we can hear and the tree shooting through the bed paint a very disturbing picture. Some believe the woodsman may have been grooming Carmen, while others say it was just a bad experience and not illegal.

I have my own theory. I believe Carmen was intoxicated when it happened. Carmen’s special item being a beer can and the fact that she was drinking a beer before we left her makes me think that she was drunk, or at least tipsy when the sex happened, and while I do understand it is not illegal by law to have sex with someone while they are tipsy, why would you want to have sex with someone while they’re intoxicated?

I know the line can be a bit muddled if the Woodsman was also intoxicated, but I highly doubt any self-respecting adult most likely in their 50s would get drunk while a 17-year-old was also getting drunk right next to them.

Even if we believe that Carmen was not intoxicated, that she was sober and wanted to have sex with him, that just makes it even worse! As it implies the Woodsman was willing to have sex with a 17-year-old girl. Let that sink in. Anyway you slice it, it makes the entire thing disturbing as hell.

Moving on from the moral implications of the entire encounter, the fact that we don’t hear a women’s aroused sounds really makes me think Carmen regrets the entire thing even happening.

Whether she initiated it (which I still stand by my point of the Woodsman just being able to tell her to piss off), or if the Woodsman decided to do it (which just proves my point on how creepy he seems to be), she didn’t enjoy it.

One more thing I’d like to mention before we move on to Scarlett. The X on Carmen’s face share a similar X found near the campsite which could symbolise how the Woodsman only saw Carmen as an annoyance that needed to be cut down, and not a 17-year-old girl who just doesn’t understand what love is.

Gameplay And Story Part 9: Scarlette And Lucius Fey Wolf

Apologies for the rant at the end of the last section, rest assured the ranting will be kept to a minimum. Scarlet, at 19 years old is the eldest sister and the most straight-laced of the sisters. As their mother appears to be out of the picture, Scarlet is the one who has to help her sisters through life. Scarlet’s three items are a cobweb, a clothesline and a TV.

Scarlet’s wolf, who I shall be referring to as Lucius Wolf just because it’s entertaining to me, can be found in the abandoned theatre playing the piano.

Once Scarlet approaches Lucius Wolf stops playing and stands at the back, observing her. As Scarlet approaches and begins to play the piano, Lucius Wolf comes along and begins to mentor her before the mist surrounding the forest turns green and the screen fades away.

Can you guess what happens next? That’s right! We wake up in front of Grandmother’s house, and head inside! This time, everything is bathed in that green fog from before, and now the furniture is covered in white sheets or just straight up missing. Looks like a very organized thief broke in.

Anyways, the next room shows us millions of jars, the worst nightmare of anyone with a chaotically dedicated roommate, before heading into a winding hallway filled with books, before we find another room filled with floating instruments and mist, finally, we are lifted into a stainless white hallway before coming into the final room.

The final room now appears to be something of a stage with Grandma’s bed now covered in blue tarp far away from us, we then continue walking into the room before Scarlet falls to the ground and the flash of images appear.

These images include Scarlet held up by strings, Scarlet with strings coming out of her eyes, Lucius Wolf with elongated claw-like nails, Scarlet’s head with a string running across the top of it, a disturbing black and white photo of the fey wolf, and a picture of Scarlet with black eyes as strings come out of them.

Scarlet’s tale appears to be one about the lack of companionship or control she has in life as a result of her parentification.

Parentification, for those of you who don’t know, is the act of forcing a child to act like a parent as their real parents fail to do so for whatever reason. Since Scarlet’s parents both appear to be missing from her life, it’s a sad reality that she would have to parent each of her five other siblings and give up on her own dreams and passions just to help them.

I feel like her parentification is what makes her feel like she has no control, hence the strings holding her up, her lack of companionship is also highlighted in her blurb, which you can find floating around on the internet. Scarlet’s wolf may be representative of her love of music and desire for any type of companion.

It seems that she wanted to become a musician, or maybe even a songwriter due to the books and instruments, however, never could, perhaps Lucius Wolf is what she wants to be, but never can. Or alternatively, he represents someone in Scarlet’s life who promised to help her, but abandoned her soon after, highlighting how alone she feels.

Gameplay And Story Part 10: The Girl In White

After every girl has disappeared from the apartment, The Girl In White is now available to play. She doesn’t have any dialogue associated with her, however, unlike the other girls, she can find The Path once running through the forest. The main objective with her is to actually go to Grandmother’s House. Really, that’s what you have to do.

When you do, however, you’ll notice something off, each room in Grandmother’s house is the final room of each girl in the order that their route was taken. For example, if you did Ruby first and then Rose then her final room would be first and then Rose’s room, right until you Grandmother’s room. Safe and Sound.

Once completed, each of the red sisters will return to the apartment one by one, with the Girl In White’s dress now stained red.

I believe this is supposed to be symbolic of a loss of innocence, each girl has learned something from their time in the forest, and each has been able to come back from it. Finally, after Robin sits back down on the floor, the Girl In White will skip out the door and disappear, allowing you to play the game over again like nothing ever happened.


In conclusion, this is one of those games that I wish got more traction than it did, while many may struggle to get it to work, there are a few YouTube videos online, most notably from CinnamonToastKen and Izzzyzzz, each with a breakdown of the game and playthrough respectively. It’s a fantastically symbolic look at growing up and how you can still come back even from your lowest point.

Well done Tale of Tales. Well done.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.