In terms of visuals, Woodways has a fairly simple but cartoony aesthetic, which adds personality and life to the game. Everything is rendered in 2D as well, but carries a pseudo-3D look due to shadows and the top-down perspective. Woodways takes place across several different environments, from the lush woodlands to frozen tundras to sandy beaches. The textures for each setting are subtle, but enough to tell each area apart from each other. The color palette also has a nice mix of bright and vibrant hues to more muted, earthy tones, so it all ends up being a rather nice visual package. The game soundtrack is rather whimsical and cheerful, so it’s hard to not smile while playing the game. Overall, the developer did an excellent job with the visual and audio design of Woodways, considering that it’s their first release on the App Store.
Like many other puzzle games, Woodways is level-based. At the moment, there are three main areas for players to go through, and each one contains a handful of stages. In total, there are over 50 puzzles to solve, and they get increasingly more difficult as you go. However, it’s never so overwhelming because it’s more gradual, so it’s friendly enough for everyone in the family. But as each animal is introduced, they have their own unique attributes and ways of interacting with the environment. Because of this, you have to think carefully to solve the puzzles at hand. The goal is to get all animals into the purple portals.
Controls in Woodways are easy and intuitive. To move, just swipe your finger in the direction you want to go in. The key element with Woodways is that you control all of the animals on the stage at once. So when you swipe, all of them move one space. If you want to undo your last move, just double tap anywhere on the screen. A button in the top left corner lets you reset the puzzle.
As mentioned earlier, there are three animals, and each one has a special trait. The fox is balanced, and lightweight enough to step on a cracked square without breaking it, but cannot swim so must avoid water. The duck is able to swim, as well as be on land, even cracked terrain. The buffalo is rather heavy, so he’ll fall right through cracked spaces and cannot swim. With these properties in mind, players must think carefully about the stage layout before moving.
In addition to the cracked floors and water surrounding each stage, there are other game mechanics that you’ll need to pay attention to. Rocks can prevent an animal from moving, so this is useful for shifting the position of animals around to better fit the portals they need to reach. There will also be slippery ice and teleportation pads as you advance in the game.
Fortunately, Woodways does not have stars to earn, time limits, or restricted moves, so you can play and enjoy the game at your own pace. If you fail for whatever reason, the game just undoes your last move for you, kind of like a checkpoint. But you can continue to undo your moves or just reset for convenience.