Game Review: forma.8 (Switch)

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Truth be told, we’re kind of fans of Mixedbag here at Infinite Frontiers. We loved Futuridium on Vita, so when we saw they were bringing their mellowed-out metroidvania title “forma.8” over from iOS to Switch, I was intrigued. Would it work on a console? Would it feel like a real Switch game? And quite simply, and more importantly, would I like it? Let’s find out.

As the exploratory probe forma.8, you crash-land in a beautiful, but somewhat hostile, planet, which you must explore to find what remains of your crew and finally, reach an energy source before it’s too late. I say all of this based on the press buff and my experience with the game, though, as there’s not an inkling of a tutorial or instructions anywhere to be found.

From small crevices to huge, open expanses… the world of forma.8 is full of color, life and surprises.

I personally like this: I don’t want games handholding me throughout, but I also don’t want them to be unnecessarily obtuse. I found forma.8 to be just right in that respect: just secretive enough to motivate you to explore, if a bit conducive to getting you lost from time to time. It has to be said, though, that the game assumes a certain level of video game literacy, and (as I was able to confirm when handing over controls to my fiancee), it may be more difficult for non-gamers to pick up the game and enjoy it from the get-go. They might find the lack of instructions disconcerting and frustrating.

I found the game balanced, as I said, so I didn’t have this problem. I also loved, loved, loved the art. The low-poly world presented by Mixedbag is haunting, beautiful and absolutely huge in certain parts. I was not expecting that, and I was happily surprised when coming out of crevices I found myself zooming out into a vast expanse, colorful and full of life.

Controls are simple enough, as you move along without gravity using the left analog stick as per usual. You gain power-ups as you find your shipmates, which are then used to solve puzzles and move the game, and story, along. I like that they put the first power-up quite early on in the game. This is a perfect way of instructing players in the fact that power-ups will be a thing. It also automatically encourages players to explore every nook and cranny in search of more goodies.

Low poly graphics full of charm populate yet another breath of fresh air into a decades-old genre, courtesy of Mixedbag.

I think “forma.8” is a good example of a change in paradigms in the gaming industry: it shows that good games are good, regardless of the platform in which they originate; it shows that independent development is evolving and growing well beyond the usual US and British markets; and it shows that there’s still life in the metroidvania genre, there’s still room to grow, to improve, to enjoy.

In the end, though, I think what “forma.8” does best, despite some minor annoyances at getting lost and losing non-gamers to the lack of instructions, is that Mixedbag are great at crafting new spins on well-established genres. And really, it’s just a really good, really fun, really relaxing little game. I like it, and if you’ve read me blabber on about it until now, I’m sure you will, too.

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About Marcos Codas 219 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas