The beauty of indie, smaller games are that they take more risks, lean into an idea further and often test out interesting new gameplay visions and mechanics. Weaving Tides is a great example of this originality as it tries a lot of interesting ideas to make an adventure game that is steeped in the world of… embroidery?! Just you wait.
You play as Tass, a child who doesn’t know his parents and has been raised by a Weaver. Weavers are dragon/manta ray creatures with long fabric tails. On Weaving Tides, you’ll be riding Weavers around the world in search of your parents and a legacy. This world is entirely made out of textile crafts and so you’ll need to think differently about every usual adventure gaming trope.
For starters, the world’s floor is part weaved, part solid and you can fly above and below the weaved sections. This is crucial for traversal and also for sneaking around enemies too. You can also tie your tail to the weaved sections as anchor points. Bridge gaps and you’ll weave the world back whole again and gain some currency to buy additional sewing skills. This weaved floor plays a crucial role in how you defeat enemies too. You don’t attack them per se – you tie them up with your tail. You can only do this by flying at enemies, maybe charging at them to stun them, and then wrapping your tail around them. You might need to do wrap them up several times so you have to be fast or the enemy will escape again. It takes a bit of getting used to but after the first half-hour, it makes more sense. Some enemies also have horns or handles you can tug at using the tail to make them unravel too and these are easily spotted as coloured fabric loops.
Part of the adventure is combat based but a larger chunk is puzzle orientated. Here puzzles often take the form of completing embroidery patterns. You’ll be presented with loops that you need to tie fabric down into to create shapes. These shapes might be found on walls, objects or eluded to in rings that tell you how many ribbons connect to that loop. I found these puzzles to be really pleasing to complete as you were rewarded with pretty patterns and lights upon completion. Later on, making continuous unbreakable fabric carpets or pulling rugs around to trigger switches join the puzzle party too. They all work nicely and whilst they aren’t too challenging, it feels distinctive and unique as you are dragging everything about or stitching it together.
Weaving Tides is a largely chill game. You can pet the Weavers (yay) and there are plenty of collectable fabrics to discover that you can take into a standalone creative mode. Here, you have an open weave floor and you can make pretty digital embroidery patterns to screenshot and share. It is a nice distraction to dip in and out of casually. Less chill are the bosses which require you to be proficient with all the stitching skills to pass. They aren’t hugely difficult but they are a step up in challenge compared to everything else.
If I had any complaints about Weaving Tides, I’d have just two minor quibbles. The first is that some of the enemies are slightly annoying and ruin the relaxed flow of the puzzle elements. The spitting monkeys that hide in pots require capture and then dragging onto the weave floor before you can tie them up and they run and hide at your every move. Grr. The other quibble is that sometimes the isometric-like view means in tight puzzle areas, you stitch the fabric into the wrong loop. This is easily solved by charging at the fabric to break it but that depth misconception cropped up more than a few times across the game.
These quibbles are minor though as Weaving Tides is a charming game. The story is warm, the graphics are bright and lush and the gameplay is excellently thought out. This is a great example of an indie game trying something unique and new and being allowed to think through its design properly. It isn’t a half-hearted aesthetic here – stitching is in the whole game design. Leave it to the indies to try something new.
Review code provided by developer.
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