Forma.8 is an open-world Metroidvania-style adventure game brought to us by the good folks at MixedBag. As the game begins, you assume the role of an alien robot having a very bad day. After your ship crashes onto a mysterious planet, as the lone survivor of your robot friends, and you’re forced to explore your atmospheric surroundings in order to find your way back home.
Forma.8 is an interesting game. MixedBag made the decision to offer very little guidance throughout your little alien robot’s journey, and I believe they made a smart decision in doing so. The lack of direction allows for a great sense of isolation as you free float around the games puzzle designs and beautiful landscapes. The puzzles themselves are thoughtful, and I found myself appreciating the effort MixedBag put in to create the clever, sometimes difficult, but always fair scenario’s for its players to contemplate.
The gameplay itself could be described as simple, as there isn’t much in the way of combat, but there certainly some technique involved in how you navigate the challenges of the game. There are enemies to contend with, and on a few occasions you and your robot buddy must figure out how to defeat them, but the majority of my time with the game consisted of learning how to avoid enemies with grace and move on to the next part of the game. As you progress, you’ll unlock new abilities that allow you to more easily handle these situations, allowing you to return to previous portions of the game to solve puzzles that couldn’t be completed previously. The upgrades given to your character are interesting as well, as you’re given a bomb, a dash, and a few others, and they all fit within the context of the game’s design. You’re forced to be smart with your abilities, learning when and how to use them in order to complete your journey. I appreciated that I couldn’t just blast my way through the game, and I respected the decision to show restraint in that aspect. The enemies range anywhere from quick, darting aliens that chase you around, to jellyfish that zap you as you make your way through the water, to some seriously agitated spider type creatures. There are a few boss fights in the game as well, allowing you to use your wits and powers to duke it out from time to time. I always enjoy a good boss fight, and Forma.8 handles these encounters very well.
As you learn how to wield your powers wisely, you’ll be taking in the games gorgeous scenery, and MixedBag hits the mark here. Forma.8 is gorgeous. Its geometrical landscapes are well designed, and the choice of both muted and vivid colors make the alien planet pop at every angle. You’ll float around through winding, silhouetted caverns, bursting lava pits, jungle-esque backdrops, and other compelling art designs. One particular section of Forma.8 has you floating quietly over a lone island, taking in the fantastic color palette as the camera slowly tightens in your robot friend, offering a great cinematic atmosphere that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Now when I say you float quietly, I mean it. There’s very little music in this game. That’s not to say this is a bad thing. MixedBag holds the score close to its chest, but when they do decide to release its musical cues, they absolutely enhance the ambiance and I loved the decision here.
While overall I loved Forma.8, I do have a few minor issues to discuss. As much as I enjoyed floating through the game, the movement can sometimes feel bogged down, and I found myself wishing that I could zip around the planet a little easier toward the end of my playing time. Another concern I should mention for players is what I mentioned earlier in the game's lack of support. Personally, this is one of my favorite aspects of the game, as I don’t always need a game to hold my hand, but I feel like some people might be turned off by the lack of advice throughout the game. There were a few times I found myself wandering aimlessly around the world not knowing what to do, and I’ll admit I turned to the interwebs in order to complete a puzzle or two. With that said, I feel strongly that if MixedBag had offered more guidance, Forma.8 would’ve lost some of its charms, and I only bring this up with you guys so you’re aware of what you’re getting into.
At the end of the day, Forma.8 is a fantastic game. It’s visuals and sound design is aesthetically pleasing, and the intelligent puzzle design is engrossing enough that I’d recommend this game to anyone. You won’t go wrong if you pick up Forma.8. Get on it folks!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 9.5/10
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