Who would place children next to the cell of Hannibal Lecter?
I am forever lost in this game, or rather the game has forever lost me. Being a huge fan of escape the room games, dark atmosphere and adventure puzzlers I jumped on the chance to review Forever Lost.
The first time I booted it up I just made it into the second room when the game started to behave like a mess. The menus kept interfering with the scene I was trying to figure out. At that point in time I got pretty annoyed, and when I managed to reset my progress when trying to access the inventory I gave up.
I don’t give up that easily though, and especially when there is some kind of mystery to be solved. From the second time I started the game there has been no game breaking bugs haunting me. Rather a sensation that the game tries to score too many cheap points, and almost treating me like I am stupid started to creep onto me. I have played most survival horror, and dark adventure games released so far, and Forever Lost tries to cash in on the classic scenes. It becomes a jumbled mess when the spooky kids playroom is located in the same corridor as the cell of the terminally mentally insane. There are loads of these strange juxtapositions that are too far off to accept. But the game somehow wants me to find the scenery believable, and that is when I get slightly offended.
As puzzles go there is nothing that I haven’t really seen before, and there is a lot of poking at everything to find every last piece needed. There is usually only one solution to a puzzle, and once you find a hint for it, all challenge is gone. There is one nifty feature in the game, and that is the in-game camera that allows you to take images of important clues. Most of us could just figure it out by taking an ordinary screen capture, but it is still inventive to have it integrated.
The user interface is ugly, and counterintuitive. Having a big green arrow indicating where to press to back out of a scene feels arcane. The inventory also feels old-fashioned, and I don’t even get who I am since I have a briefcase to put all stuff in for some reason.
I wish that Forever Lost had been a good game considering it is a series, and this is just episode one. Now there are some highlights, such as the in-game gnome segments walking through the woods. Most of the game feels boring, and there are too long segments of just walking between the scenes. Having just played The Room I know how an escape the room puzzler can be made much more interesting by having layers of puzzles in the same place.
Forever Lost has some great looking environments, but without interesting puzzles it falls flat. A convoluted story and a messed up setting overall makes it unconvincing as a horror game, and you are left running around looking for stuff.