Forma.8 is a 2D action adventure featuring several puzzles and beautiful visuals. Using a slow moving booster, a small probe must escape an alien planet. The game is entirely based on a single story mode and the main challenge of the game is mastering this slow movement. This also leads to solving the various puzzles arranged throughout the map. In all, the two man development team manage to capture a true sense of loneliness. While also giving the player the freedom and sense of exploration people come to expect from Metroidvania titles.
Platform: PC [Reviewed], Playstation 4 [Reviewed], PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: February 23, 2017
Forma.8 begins immediately after you crash land on a mysterious planet. There’s no tutorial. No directions given. Absolutely no hand holding. You must navigate your way through caves, enemies and puzzles. Abilities come into play early in the game and without them progression is halted. While backtracking is guaranteed. Mainly, you float through the game using momentum based movement. It can take some getting used to. Especially, on tight turns or in a fight against one of the bosses.
Abilities are acquired only by finding other dead probes with different technologies. Once you discover them, they are immediately added to your arsenal for use throughout the game. These abilities include: shielding pulses, bombs, and speed boosts. They allow you to kill, or escape enemies in each area. For example, deploying a bomb and then using the pulse shield to push it into the direction of an enemy before it explodes, is just one cool way to use an ability.
Silhouettes of aliens are the only form of hostility in the game. The aliens range from blobs to fire breathing shadow dragons. Pretty simply, The creatures main mission is to destroy the probe. If you cannot escape one of their attacks, the probe loses health. Even though outright escape is an option, there are reasons to fight back. Especially, since health can only be restored by destroying shiny boxes or killing said creatures and absorbing their energy. There is no kills requirement for level progression, but the creatures do often get in your way as you cross narrow caverns or through puzzles.
Design and Soundtrack
Forma.8 seemingly focuses on it’s background, more than anything else. The visuals of the game compliment it nicely. Adding to the alien atmosphere, while also creating anxiety and suspense. The backgrounds are composed of shapes and flat design concepts, which create a scene for the probe to float through. Supplementing the background, is a simple soundtrack consisting of piano and undulating electronic vibes. Honestly, this is where the game shines. It is truly a peaceful and mysterious work of art.
The puzzles are good enough that they make Forma.8 worth replaying. However, there is no story to miss at all. The puzzles can be difficult to get through. They are challenging and you may have to repeat them several times before getting it right. Although, the probe also spends quite a bit of time, floating from area to area. Combat can be fun and intriguing, but there’s little in terms of enemy variety. This is certainly not a game for speedrunners either.
Long motion sequences
No reward for completion
Aaron’s Final Rating
Aaron’s Overall Thoughts: Aaron’s Score: 5.5 Out of 10 If you haven’t played Forma.8 and would like to, a positive is that it’s available on a variety of platforms. However, I felt the game gets too generic. There are several moments of deja vu playing through it. I got kinda bored just floating through open areas, which made me quickly lose interest. Although it’s understandable that the probe is slow, it gets extremely aggravating when the probe’s pace causes you, to have to repeat puzzles. I feel the combat and visuals are the only major upsides to the game. I would not want to replay it again.
Sean’s Second Opinion & Rating
Sean’s Thoughts: Sean’s Score: 8.0 Out of 10 This is something that rarely happens, but MixedBag graciously not only gave us a PC code for Forma.8, but also a PS4 code as well. I played through the game on PS4 and feel like I should give some thoughts of my own on Forma.8. The game’s lack of direction or tutorial can make the early part of the game a bit frustrating. Especially some of the timing based puzzles, which took me a bit of time to figure out. The first boss fight was also a bit of doozy too. However, once I got through that, the game opened up more.
Yes, the momentum based movement is slow, but that’s because it’s meant to be this way. The game’s lavish visuals and serene music hook you into exploring. The game channels you forward, but there are sections to explore, goodies to grab and other things to find. In fact, many of the abilities that you need to progress, are found in hidden places in the world. Think about it, the probe crash landed, it’s going to be disoriented and have to learn on its own, where to go.
Admittedly, having to think about why you can’t solve a puzzle is annoying, but patience is a virtue after all. Honestly, your enjoyment of this game, largely depends on how much you like exploring and puzzle solving. There are enemies to defeat and bosses to conquer, this is still a Metroidvania. However, they are somewhat secondary to the things I mentioned previously. The pace of the game fits what it’s about. I found myself lost in the beautiful scenery and even staring at some of well designed enemies too.
Overall, I really liked what MixedBag gave us with Forma.8. Some of the early game takes some adjusting, but powering through that grants more abilities and things to find. Aaron’s totally correct that there’s little story here, but this is a game that largely leaves the player to its own devices. The story is secondary in reality. It’s about being lost in space and moving around it. This short indie adventure is well worth it for fans of puzzle games or Metroidvania’s. I should warn that how much patience you have with games, can make or break Forma.8 for you.
Average and Overall Rating: 7.0 Out of 10 Technically, the average would be a little less, but we don’t do .25 or .75 on ratings at W2Mnet.com. Only .0 or .5 So, for that reason the average is being rounded up to a flat 7.0.
For the sake of transparency, the publisher (MixedBag) provided a digital code on both PC and PS4 for review purposes.