The Forest Quartet Review
Some releases are more than just video games, they’re passion projects. The Forest Quartet is exactly that. With the creator’s father and sister involved with aspects of the game, this deeply personal title aims to tackle a difficult subject innovatively, but will it successfully communicate its intended message?
The Forest Quartet is an emotional tale about loss and grief. After a bout of illness, the lead singer of a popular group passes away. As each member of the band mourns in their own way, they collectively agree to celebrate her life with a final concert. While their hearts remain in the right place, misery engulfs their existence which causes them to be reclusive. As an apparition, you will visit members of your group to help them overcome their lamentation and perform once more. The topic is explored sensitively with illusionary metaphors to communicate their struggles. Due to this, the theme never gets overbearing and manages to deliver a melancholy message tactfully.
Rather than forcing the narrative, the game intertwines the story with the experience. Elements within the environment suggest numerous aspects about the person you are trying to help. Darkness enshrouds each of the worlds but they all possess their own concept. On one level, fungus infects the area which gives a strong suggestion about the character’s reliance on hallucinogenics. Other stages also explore aspects of the band’s psyche which helps add personality to each member of the group. In addition to this, audio segments from interviews with the group also echo at certain points. This gives further insight into the bandmates and progresses the plot in a wonderful, unobtrusive way.
Each act focuses on a different band member. As the ghost of the late singer, you will need to find their house and solve unique conundrums to ease their concerns. Even though the loop remains the same for the three musicians, the areas are distinct and offer fresh puzzles. These are quite simple and due to this, you’ll never struggle to work out the solution. Some will have you linking lights in a particular order while others will require you to create contraptions to progress. Puzzles seamlessly link to one another to create a lovely pace. Although the game lacks any significant challenge, it successfully manages to blend the gameplay with the narrative to deliver a memorable experience.
As a vocalist, you can interact with objects using your voice. Doing so can spur items to life and help you to overcome obstacles. You can float above small areas but will also hit invisible walls that require you to solve a puzzle before you venture further. This is a little jarring as some gaps you can glide across whereas others you can’t. Everything is simple and intuitive. You can easily grab items and place them in the correct location without hassle. This helps to make your time in The Forest Quartet stress-free.
The overall presentation is delightful. Contrasting colors help to communicate a feeling of isolation with a glimmer of hope. The protagonist shines and helps to eradicate the misery that plagues her friends’ psyches. Shadows are stark which helps to create a feeling of unease as you trek through desolate areas. The audio design shifts from Jazz-infused rhythms to alien-like effects. This helps to add tension to your escapade while also keeping the premise at the forefront. The combination of the incredible soundtrack and juxtaposing visuals, help the game forge a unique identity.
Due to the game’s focus on narrative, there is no incentive to replay the game. While this may be of no concern to some, others may expect more from the title. With its extremely short runtime, you can easily finish the game in one evening. The experience itself is refined and well-paced so adding to this would have hampered the game. However, with no extras or reason to go back, you may feel a little short-changed.
The Forest Quartet is a wonderful title that is creative in its approach to telling a touching story. The aesthetics and score blend perfectly to take you on an ethereal journey. Even though it is very short and the puzzles are straightforward, it manages to deliver a memorable experience.
***A PlayStation 5 code provided by the publisher for review***
- Stunning Soundtrack
- Lovely Contrasting Visuals
- Emotional Narrative
- The Puzzles Are Simple
- It’s Very Short
- No Replay Value