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Forma.8 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Forma.8 is a game I liked, but didn't love. There was clearly a lot of time and love put into this adventure, and I was impressed by its length and challenge. I can see this becoming a cult classic, especially with people who like to fill in the stories for themselves. Forma.8 may not have grabbed me like Futuridium EP, but you better believe I'm excited to see what Mixed Bag has in store for us next. Rating: 71%
Forma.8
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  • Review Score:

  • B
I'm a firm believer in track records. If the last game you made was great, then I'm instantly interested in what you're doing next. Futuridium EP was one of those great games, and I couldn't stop talking about it back in 2014. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I ended up naming it the 8th best game of the year. It was gorgeous without being showy and pumped a lot new life into the genre. So, with this in the back of my head, I was eager to dive into Mixed Bag's newest game -- Forma.8. Sadly, it's not as good as Futuridium.

This is a stylish 2D adventure game inspired by the likes of Metroid and Castlevania. You play a scout drone that unexpectedly crash lands on an alien planet. You're the lone survivor, unable to speak and not sure where to go. This sets up an epic journey where you fly around the massive maze and pick up the memories of your fallen friends.


Of course, this isn't exactly clear when you crash on the planet. In fact, the whole thing is disorienting in a way that I found both baffling and refreshing. This is an adventure without lengthy conversations and help bubbles; you just explore the surroundings and attempt to dig deeper into the structure. And explore I did, because the world they've created is fascinating and full of surprises.

While most video game heroes like to run and jump, our little drone is a small fellow that flies around the screen without worrying about crashing into things. He's inexperienced, which gives him a loose and floaty feel, almost as if we're underwater. The goal is to find your friends and collect their powers, allowing you to explore new sections of the map and get into fights with the many massive boss characters.

If you've played a Metroid or Castlevania game in the last two decades, then you'll know exactly what to expect from this quirky variation. It all starts with the drone picking up an energy blast, which can help open doors and protect the little guy from the planet's many bad guys. We'll also pick up bombs, which you can drop at any time or shoot forward by combining it with the energy blast. You'll also pick up a quick dash move and a fun ability that warps you a short distance. All of these will be used to not only find hidden areas, but solve a bunch of physics-based puzzles.

Forma.8 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

This is a formula that is almost always fun, and Forma.8 is certainly no exception. A lot of this comes from figuring out what you're supposed to be doing, which isn't nearly as frustrating as it sounds. The game may not hold your hand, but I never hit a point where I got stuck or didn't know what to do. Everything is intuitive without being spelled out, and that only made the journey more satisfying.

I think my favorite example of this comes from the boss fights. These battles seem straight-forward at first, but they're trickier than they seem. You can't just lob bombs at them; you'll need to combine your abilities to create a combo attack. But even this isn't obvious at first, as I spent a lot of time not knowing my attacks weren't doing any good. There's a trick to each boss, and I like that they aren't just mindless fodder.

But for as clever as some of the boss fights are, I found that a lot of Forma.8 left me cold. I liked the minimalist graphics, the leisurely pace and the mysterious world. But even with all this going for it, I kept trying to put my finger on why I wasn't connecting with the little drone. I think the problem is that this Metroidvania formula is just so familiar by now that it doesn't have the same impact it once had. The game does do a good job of looking and feeling different from most games in the genre, but it's not enough to feel fresh.

Forma.8 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It doesn't help that I kind of hated the way the drone controls. I know it's done on purpose, but the floaty gameplay occasionally gets in the way. It's easy to bounce around the screen when you're trying to fight enemies, and lining up shots can be a real pain. It never felt like I was in complete control, which may actually be the point. Either way, the loose gameplay made some of the more intense fights needlessly challenging.

I also wish there was more to find in Forma.8. Beyond the power-ups, there are a couple collectables to locate. The problem is that it's not clear what these items do, if anything. One type of item will extend your life bar, but I was never fully sure what the other did. Usually these kinds of games are teaming with things to find, so without that the map ended up feeling empty. It didn't give me a lot of incentive to search every inch of the world, so I mostly stuck to the story path.

Forma.8 is a game I liked, but didn't love. There was clearly a lot of time and love put into this adventure, and I was impressed by its length and challenge. I can see this becoming a cult classic, especially with people who like to fill in the stories for themselves. Forma.8 may not have grabbed me like Futuridium EP, but you better believe I'm excited to see what Mixed Bag has in store for us next.
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