The First Tree is an atmospheric adventure game that focuses on the story of a young man trying to reconnect with his estranged father. Players take on the roll of a fox he’s been dreaming about and uncover objects from his childhood memories while trying to find her lost fox pups.
Release Date: September 14th, 2017
Developer: David Wehle
Publisher: David Wehle
Format: PC Game
First playthrough time: 2 hours
- Story of feels
- Beautiful environment
- Variety of collectibles
- Minor easter eggs
- I had some problems with depth perception when jumping
The main focus of The First Tree is experiencing the story of the son Joseph in relation to his estranged father. In the dialog, Joseph has recently awoken from a dream which is filled with memorable objects from his childhood and a fox. He relates his childhood memories, from those that are most precious to the ones he most regrets. The fox is on an explorative quest to find her missing pups and along her journey finds many childhood objects from across the years of Joseph’s memories.
The world of The First Tree is beautiful. There’s lots of soft colors and lighting with grass, trees, and water everywhere. I enjoyed exploring the different areas to find the collectibles and listening to the story while moving from one to the next. The game hides different stars and buried objects all around the game so it’s fun exploring the nooks and crannies for them. Objects provide story dialog while stars are unnecessary, but lead the player to new areas and provide a small bonus at the end of the game.
Exploring also helps players find some of the hidden secret items and easter eggs in the game. My favorites were the references to the developer’s prior game Home is Where One Starts… which I reviewed shortly after its release. There’s also a funny out of the way easter egg where players can get a giant rabbit to appear.
While the world of The First Tree is expansive, the vast space makes it slow to explore. If players don’t keep pace in finding items to trigger dialog, they can end up just running around in circles listening to the music. This is most likely to happen to players who care most about the story and are working to find every collectible and secret. In my case this also happened when I failed a number of the double jumps and missed a star suspended in the air. This lead to running back around, and while I recognize it’s my own skill level at platforming that causes this, I often felt myself wishing things were smaller in scale because running speed just wasn’t cutting it.
Overall I found the The First Tree to be beautiful and relaxing while presenting an emotional and believable story. I liked finding the collectibles and exploring the world. After playing both of the explorative story games by David Wehle, I hope to see more from him. I recommend The First Tree for players looking for a relaxing, emotional, and explorative story game.