Last week we launched the PC Gamer Indie channel, which has since sent me sniffing around the quirkiest corners of itch.io and Steam. Last night, I happened upon The First Tree—a beautiful walking simulator that explores themes of love, loss and friendship through the eyes of a fox.
Which I guess might instead make a bounding simulator? I'm not sure, but what I am certain of is The First Tree's scope for emotional storytelling. Throughout its modest two hour or so runtime, I thoroughly enjoyed galloping around its gorgeous pastoral landscapes and moonlit moors, uncovering snippets of narrative all the while battling the ever-growing lump in my throat.
Here's how lone developer David Wehle—whose previous game Home is Where One Starts... you may already be familiar with—bills his latest outing:
The First Tree, [is] a third-person exploration game centered around two parallel stories: a fox trying to find her missing family, and a son reconnecting with his father in Alaska. Players take control of the fox on a poignant and beautiful journey that crescendos at the source of life, and perhaps result in an understanding of death. Along the way, players can uncover artifacts and stories from the son's life as he becomes intertwined in the fox’s journey towards The First Tree.