Review – Forma.8
MixedBag’s newest Switch title, the oddly named Forma.8, is the console’s first Metroidvania game, everybody’s current darling videogame genre. With future titles such as Axiom Verge, Hollow Knight and Dandara coming soon for Nintendo’s new console, does this weird-but-charming little title have what it takes to stand out from the competition?
Forma.8 opens with a fantastic intro cinematic which blends both 2D and 3D graphics in a way that’s quite challenging to differentiate one from another, thanks to the game’s great art style. Said cinematic also features an incredible futuristic soundtrack. First impressions are always very important, and Forma.8 surely delivers in that aspect.
When the game actually starts, you take control of a small ball-shaped probe droid that can move around in any direction. That alone makes Forma.8 different from other games on the genre as it is less about platforming and more about exploring the map with your flying droid. The first half dozen rooms won’t look very appealing to you as they fall into the typical “dull and grey” category of video game locales, but once you first venture into a wide open space you’ll notice how vivid the backgrounds are and how good Forma.8‘s art style is. Even though the visuals are certainly very good, I’ve stumbled upon one very annoying issue regarding this department: your main character is incredibly small and it becomes very annoying to spot it onscreen when you’re playing the Switch on-the-go. This is one of the very few games that I’ve mainly played on docked mode in order to have a bigger screen, and therefore a bigger robot to look at.
Another issue I’ve faced in this game was regarding its gameplay. Two issues, in fact.
The first problem is about your robot’s movement. While its controls are simple and its sense of freedom is great, there’s a huge issue regarding the unbelievable amount of momentum present in this robot’s movement and how floaty it is. Think of any ice level you’ve ever played in your life: remember the amount of momentum and how your character never fully stops where you want to? That’s basically Forma.8‘s little robot’s movement. It will take a while for you to get used to this clunky movement. Hopefully, you won’t feel that this movement will be that much of a problem in the initial levels, given the larger spaces and smaller number of enemies onscreen. But once you’re into further levels, with tighter corridors and more traps, that’ll be a problem. A big one.
The other main issue is regarding the game’s map system. Forma.8‘s rooms are huge and labyrinthical, featuring lots of branching paths and exits. The games map, however, barely shows anything onscreen. Limiting itself to just a square with some dots representing exit points with no mentioning of where you are in said square.
It might sound like I’m just slamming the game left and right, it might sound that I’m saying the game is bad. Rest assured, it’s not: Forma.8‘s issues are annoying but its freedom of exploration and art style are good enough to keep you invested in it until the very end.
If you can ignore the infuriating control scheme and the useless map system, Forma.8 is a decent little game for the Switch. It is both a relaxing experience, when you’re thrown at huge but empty areas, and one heck of a challenge, when in tight corridors full of enemies. Its art style and soundtrack were also very commendable. For the time being, while no other Metroidvania is around, Forma.8 is worth taking a look.
Reviewed on Switch.
Forma.8 is also available on PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC, Wii U
Copy of Forma.8 was provided by publisher.