I love scrolling through the seemingly endless “new releases” tab on Steam. There is just something so satisfying about scouring through the boundless collection of asset flips and hentai games for truly exceptional indie games. Occasionally, I’ll land upon a relatively unknown title with plenty of promise and try it out. In the past, it’s mostly been a success. I’ve found titles like the brilliant SRPG, Magellania, by the infinitely talented developer Illun. But recently, the well has all but dried up, and creative indie titles are quickly becoming few and far between. So, when Forgotten Spirits, a wonderfully creative cooperative puzzle title, came along, I leapt at the opportunity to play.
“It is clear a lot of attention went into the aesthetic appeal of Forgotten Spirits.”
Visually, Forgotten Spirits is a marvellous spectacle, with beautiful lighting effects and reflections. The setting, an otherworldly dreamscape filled with mesmerisingly surreal imagery, is phenomenal. You’ll see floating rocks gently bobbing against a sea of stars; a shackled suit of armour strung up hanging limply, as rays of light graze its tarnished chest plate; an observatory engulfed in a deep verdant green sea of grass.
The spirits you’ll control are filled with personality, despite never uttering a word. There’s a stern lumbering giant whose enormous frame carries the gentle spritely spirit. Their flowery appearance makes their bounding leaps appear that much more graceful. It is clear a lot of attention went into the aesthetic appeal of Forgotten Spirits.
Fortunately, the same can be said about the soundtrack. It’s a wonderfully ethereal ambient soundtrack that permeates much of your adventure. It helps elevate the cryptically mythological narrative that’s told through vague symbolic imagery and visual spectacle. While the story was ultimately too enigmatic to truly understand, it was moving nonetheless. In combination with the gorgeous art style and visual storytelling, the swelling score helped create an atmosphere and sentiment that was truly remarkable.
“The cooperative mechanics worked remarkably well in solo play, although I imagine it is infinitely more enjoyable with a friend.”
The puzzle mechanics are a delight too. Each puzzle requires you to utilise both spirits in conjunction with one another, and it’s almost always clear what you have to do and how to do it. This is not the most challenging puzzle game I’ve played, but that doesn’t imply it is unsatisfactory.
The sense of accomplishment and elation you feel once you’ve completed a puzzle is still there. You just also avoid the head-scratching lull that ruins the immersion and sense of progression. I played Forgotten Spirits solo, but it can be played cooperatively. The cooperative mechanics worked remarkably well in solo play, although I imagine Forgotten Spirits is infinitely more enjoyable with a friend.
Unfortunately, it bears mentioning that there is some minor jank when it comes to movement controls. Regardless of whether I was wall-jumping or simply trying to balance one spirit on top of the other, I often found it took me several attempts.
The platforming can also be a little floaty, with characters skidding slightly upon landing. The wall-jumping felt unresponsive to me, as characters refused to propel themselves forward after hitting the wall. Fortunately, It was never terribly irksome, with most of the movement and platforming performing perfectly. Considering the short length of Forgotten Spirits, I was able to put these minor control issues aside for the duration of the game.
“For its low price point, I’d argue that Forgotten Spirits is worth it, especially considering the level of quality you’re receiving.”
Unfortunately, that is the ultimate caveat of this otherwise splendid puzzle experience. It is rather short. Clocking in at around 60 minutes, Forgotten Spirits ends rather abruptly, and left me wanting more. That 60 minutes could easily be 30, especially if you’re adept at puzzle games and love to speedrun them. There’s certainly potential for it to be longer, but the reality is that Forgotten Spirits is a rather compact experience. I’d argue the game is still worth it for its low price point, especially considering the level of quality you’re receiving. But the short length is understandably sure to put some people off.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the developer.