I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games. It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the topic (if you don’t know what that is, congrats on being a younger gamer). Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD is a more recent entry in the list, and it’s actually one of the best ones I’ve played in quite a while. I do miss the fact that there are no wacky inmates to converse with, but otherwise it has managed to nail the atmosphere pretty well, and has a nice balance of object puzzle solving and mini-games to complete. Now if I could just find the skip button for the puzzle I’m stuck on…
You don’t know where you are, the game isn’t clear that you know who you are, but you’re definitely not in Kansas any more… or are you? You’ll have to explore every nook and cranny of the “asylum” that you realize you’re in, gathering objects, solving puzzles and completing the odd mini-game that’s conveniently been placed in the way of your progress. Thankfully the game leans more towards object based puzzles than mini-games, and for the most part the mini-games are thoughtful but not hair-pulling. Of course I say that as I am currently stuck on one of the mini-games, and I can’t seem to find the skip button so that I don’t have to beat my head against the wall (or maybe THAT is the puzzle?) There is a hint system, though I’m a bit disappointed that I actually have to leave the game in order to use it.
The story is told mostly through pages scrawled in journals that you find scattered throughout the asylum, though an occasional flashback helps confuse the issues just a bit. There wasn’t an abundance of details laid before you, but I presume that’s what the sequel will be for. Even though you don’t get a novel’s full of journal entries or a fan-film length set of cut sequences, there’s enough to keep you wanting to press forward all the time.
To that end, “pressing forward” primarily constitutes tapping the appropriate item at the right time. There is a few times where you actually get to drag your finger around to do something, but there are no tricks that require actions like tilting the device or anything. One neat feature that’s unique to Forever Lost is that you can take a picture of each scene with the camera you get early on. Beyond that you have the capability to scribble notes on each picture to help you remember important details. I’m hoping for part 2 they might let you type on the pictures instead, since my “less than slender” fingers mostly produced markings that might make a doctor proud, but did little to help me out.
The atmosphere is extremely well crafted. Detailed 3D rendered scenes coupled with some ominous background music set a moody tone of hopelessness and a desire to get free of your creepy confinements. I like the fact that when you get the UV torch you can use it in any room you’re at, even though it’s only needed specifically in one room. There are also some nifty blurred effects applied when you use a special pair of glasses in rooms where they weren’t intended to be used. Overall it’s a nice package aesthetically, though the sound effects are actually pretty hum drum (this isn’t one of those games where there are dripping faucets or overhead lights that are shorting out around every turn).
It happens that I did finally complete the puzzle that had me stumped for a while (turns out I was over thinking it). While I did peek at the hints a couple of times, in the end Forever Lost turned out to be a nicely balanced adventure game that most players should feel satisfied rather than frustrated with. It’s a great foundation for what I imagine will be a two or three game story arc, and based on this first installment I expect to see some interesting things happening in the future.
|Title:||Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD||Developer:||Glitch Games|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||4.3|