Thanks to MixedBag for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 08/24/2017
Compared to other recent Metroidvanias I’ve played, Forma 8 throws out the idea of anything related to a high-quality visual style in favor of one with a lot of focus on shadow and darkness, with black being a common color to be seen in the game, especially when it comes to the externals of caves. There are still plenty of colorful places to be seen in the game, but they don’t pop up often, and when they do it mostly feels dull solely because they put a bit too much effort into having you feel isolated.
Still, despite the large amount of black, I can at least give the game props for staying consistent with the colors, and the map you can pull up comes in real handy and is easy to use. The music also tends to feel non-existent de to the ambient nature of the game, and most of the time I was too focused on the slow exploration to pay attention to the music, so I can’t really say I remember much related to the music outside of the sound effects.
The controls in Forma 8 are simple, starting off only with the ability to float around your surroundings, searching the environment, and right away it’s evident that this game is really, really slow. Traversing across screens can take what feels like at least a minute or two, and when it comes to the usual backtracking and optional exploration that’s encouraged in Metroidvanias, doing so in this game feels like a big chore, even when you get upgrades since the overall pacing of this game is just atrocious, and it feels like the slow movement is here to deliberately pad out the game.
Speaking of upgrades, these gradually unlock new areas and paths to hidden secrets, as is the norm for games in this genre, ranging from a handy bomb to an upgrade that allows you to briefly flash to shoot bombs and activate switches. Some of these upgrades are also required to take on the bosses, which feel more like puzzles due to how there’s really no way to do direct combat outside of using your upgrades, with the hazards mainly coming in the form of obstacles, dangerous lava or enemies. It’s just a shame that the aforementioned slow start of the game means that you’ll be spending quite a bit of time before things get going, and getting stuck on a particular boss or puzzle early on like I did can be a total mood breaker, since there’s little to do in the first hour or so of the adventure.
In conclusion, Forma 8 is a game that suffers really badly from the slow pacing, especially at the start. Slow movement compared with a focus on puzzles make this a game that’s less fun and more or less relaxing, but then when a tricky puzzle or boss battle comes along the feeling of relaxation is completely eliminated. Thus, the game feels like a game that’s slow to be a relaxing adventure, while sometimes a game that relies on clever puzzles or confusing bosses to add some challenge.
Unfortunately, I lost interest in this sci-fi adventure very quickly, which is a shame as I typically love Metroidvania and was willing to give this game a shot, but in the end despite multiple attempts, I just couldn’t get hooked on this game, and it took a good 20% through the game before I got bored and gave up. I give Forma.8 a 5 out of 10.