Forma8 is a Slow and Steady SciFi Search

first_imgStay on target ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball FormSNES Games Officially Come to Nintendo Switch If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule.It’s an overused term in gaming circles, but I’d be lying if I said Metroidvanias weren’t one of my favorite genres. Slowly exploring a huge nonlinear map, mastering navigation and expanding your possibilities with new tools, just scratches a specific gaming power fantasy itch. And since you can make meaningful progress in short and long sessions alike, Metroidvanias seem like a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch’s console/handheld hybrid nature.And yet, Metroid: Samus Returns, the new 2D sidescrolling Metroid game coming out soon and the first promising Metroid game in almost a decade, is only releasing on the aging Nintendo 3DS. Meanwhile, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the true successor to classic Castlevania, doesn’t land on Switch or any other platform until next year.Fortunately, Metroidvanias are also a popular genre among indie games. The acclaimed indie Metroid cover Axiom Verge releases on Switch this Fall, but in the meantime, there’s a nifty Metroidvania available on Switch right now that may have flown under your radar. While Forma.8’s pace is slow, its quality is steady.Metroidvania fans tend to like it when the game just throws them into the space with virtually no guidance. Smart level design should point them in the right direction, but players should feel like they are charting their own course, that they are figuring it out for themselves.Forma.8 is definitely a game you need to figure out for yourself since it’s completely wordless and pretty minimal when it comes to other ambient music and sounds. I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on, which helped me empathize with the tiny floating circle hero who also seems completely confused in these alien environments. The maps are super vague, as are the purposes of the optional collectibles.Instead of text, Forma.8 presents itself purely through aesthetic tableaus. The game is full of stark compositions featuring huge, angular, simple but striking forms. The limited colors and heavy use of cute dark silhouettes look like Limbo or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. The atmosphere does a great job of making you slightly creeped out but super curious to keep poking at every corner. It’s impressive what the game can accomplish with what only seems like a handful of elements.That goes for the gameplay itself, too. While you do get new powers that allow you to reach new areas, you don’t get that many, and they don’t come that frequently. Instead, you are encouraged to find new smart survival applications of powers you already possess. For example, you can release short flash to damage nearby foes, plant a bomb that explodes after a few seconds, or use the flash to safely launch the bomb from a distance at a specific target.All of Forma.8’s strengths coalesced for me during one gameplay sequence where I had to guide a baby monster out of a maze to its parent. For the most part, I was separated from the creature by a wall, but by hitting the wall in just the right way, I could command the creature to move to certain spots and activate certain buttons. I figured this all out through experimentation at my own pace. And when the maze ended with me back where I started but now with the monster in tow, I finally put it together without explanation that freeing the little monster would placate the big monster blocking my path in the overworld, which is exactly what happened.Unfortunately, Forma.8 also has some aspects that aren’t nearly as sublime. In general, the game is incredibly slow-paced. Maybe this is due to its touch-heavy mobile routes, but the floaty flight controls have so much delay it’s like gliding through molasses. All of your powers also feature similar lag. I’ve never been so grateful to receive a speed boost power-up in a video game.The speed issue isn’t too bad in non-threatening sections like guiding the baby monster. But the game is also bafflingly full of perilous sections that require a level of timing and precision the controls just can’t comfortably provide like quickly bouncing bombs into specific boss weak points or participating in full-on races through tight corridors with deadly energy blobs on your tail. Plus the sluggish movement pace discourages backtracking by making it boring for even the most patient players.But if you power through the slow controls, which is totally possible, Forma.8 is a lovely little nonlinear adventure. Now, where’s my real Metroid game for Nintendo Switch?Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.Buy it now!The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildNintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesView as: One Page Slides1/51. Forma.8 is a moody, minimal, Metroidvania game.2. Explore an expansive sci-fi environment with almost nothing to guide you.3. The game challenges you to come up with creative uses of your limited set of powers.4. However, the sluggish controls and general slow pace can’t keep up wih the game’s more demanding sections.5. Still, Forma.8 is a lovely little nonlinear adventure.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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