Many years ago at Eurogamer, we saw a small stand showcasing 2 games: one was Futuridium and the other was forma.8. Mixed Bag Games have come a long way since then, and forma.8 is finally here. The question is, was it worth the wait?
forma.8 is a 2D, Metroidvania exploration game. You star as a small probe, stranded on an alien planet. You are beyond cute and the scenery is sparse but beautiful. Along the way, you will encounter puzzles in order to progress. Sometimes, especially in the early stages, you will really struggle to figure out where you are supposed to go. As per the Metroidvania genre, lots of backtracking is required. If you can’t find a possible way through, it’s most likely because you haven’t picked up a specific tool that you need yet.
As you’re floating through the atmosphere, it’s hard to not notice how visually impressive forma.8 is. It really is a sight to see, and it clearly takes its visual prompts from games like Another World. But don’t stare too long, as you’re not alone. There are quite a few enemies in your path. None are too devastating, but if you are careless you will die. And it’s fairly easy to get lost in forma.8, so dying here can leave you thinking: “What was I doing again?”. Luckily, the enemies are fairly easy to dispose of, and even better when they kick the bucket they drop health for you to pick up.
As I mentioned earlier, you are a small probe stuck on an alien planet. The story goes that you have to recover a powerful energy source in a life or death mission. But everything here is minimal across the 6-8 hours the game lasts. There’s not a sense of urgency story wise. The game is very much about exploration and getting lost in this world. And it really, really works. There are times however when you’ll be excited about entering a new area, only to realise that it seemingly leads to nowhere and that you have a whole load of backtracking in your future. Which I’m not gonna lie, is pretty jarring. But if you really think about it, you’re on an alien planet. It would be pretty bizarre if you knew all the areas like the back of your hand.
The outcome is that you are left with a truly charming game, that celebrates the unknown. Think of Thomas Was Alone meets Pixeljunk Shooter and you’re in the right ball park. But forma.8 is its own creation that floats on its own two probe feet, and is a journey that is hugely worth taking.
forma.8 is a beautiful and intriguing experience which is well worth the challenge it presents. Excellent stuff.
Punk rating: 8/10