Indie Developer MixedBag releases Forma.8 for the Nintendo Switch on August 24, 2017. Forma.8 is a beautifully built game with tons to explore and a story to uncover. Forma.8 is also available for the PlayStation 4 and PC. Read our review after the jump.
The game begins in a manufacturing warehouse where you, an exploration probe, are created. You are then stranded on an alien planet to explore at your leisure. Not much else is given to you as a narrative, but that didn’t hurt the overall experience as it was interesting enough exploring this planet.
The probe’s controls are simplified to allow an easy means to navigate the giant world of Forma.8. The left stick is used to fly/float around while the face buttons are used as your attacks. A pulse-like attack is your primary source of defense. Enemies will relentlessly jump towards you, making the pulse a useful tool. Enemies will evolve as you find new ways to attack, making every new upgrade useful as long as you use them wisely.
Boss fights in this game are quite interesting. Instead of facing the enemy head on with your mines you need to outwit them using the environment and other common fodder that might be lurking around. These fights break up exploration and puzzle solving as they can take a bit of time to understand how to defeat.
Forma.8’s dark atmospheric environments make for a great use of the “metroidvania” style of games. New environments are presented frequently. Keys and upgrades are littered throughout as they will help you open barriers that you couldn’t before. Luckily, a dedicated button is used to display the map at any time allowing for continued exploration without the need of pausing the action. The map doesn’t show a full picture of the rooms, but they do show off the general direction towards doors that can be opened. Certain puzzles are also implemented to advance to new locations. One of these include lighting torches under a certain amount of time. I found these to be troublesome and not fun at all. The timer seemed to run out just in time to reach the final un-lit torch every single time. I had issue with these moments of the game because of how precise you have to be. One screw up means you need to wait for the timer to reset to start over.
Forma.8 is a marvel to look at. When freed from facilities and caverns, a beautifully lit sky presents itself. Colors mesh well with one another and every new location is a joy to look at. Each new visual is paired with calming ambient sounds that make owning high-quality earphones worthwhile. Aesthetically this game is perfect.
Beautiful aesthetics and fun exploration is the name of the game when it comes to Forma.8. The length of the game did not overstay its time and it wasn’t short enough where I wanted more of the “metroidvania” style of game. The game is nearly perfect in every way imaginable, but those torch-based puzzles really made me groan more than a fair share of times. Despite these groan-worthy segments, Forma.8 rejuvenates the ubiquitous genre with simplistic controls and an intriguing world.