How can we take care of loss? The Danish indie narrative game The Forest Quartet by Mads & Friends needs to resolve precisely this query with atmospheric surroundings and empathetic insights. We’ll learn the way nicely it really works in our check.
A jazz quartet within the gloomy forest
In the small narrative game The Forest Quartet by Danish indie developer Mads & Friends, the whole lot revolves round particular person grief processing and coping with the lack of a beloved one. In the practically 90-minute puzzle journey, a jazz band should deal with the dying of their singer and reconnect for one final live performance to pay their respects to the musician and good friend.
This motif is not new to video games – indie titles like What Remains of Edith Finch and even the Zelda-like action-adventure Rime deal intensely with the lack of a beloved one and the grieving that follows. In The Forest Quartet, I management the spirit of the deceased jazz singer Nina by means of the ideas of the three remaining band members and have to assist them course of the loss by fixing small puzzle passages.
Help in dealing with grief
For instance, I’ve to free bassist JB from his fears by activating lamps scattered within the forest in the best order and chasing away shadowy creatures that make their mischief among the many gloomy timber. Or I assist the pianist Kirk out of his crippling melancholy by stopping the decay of his environment, metaphorically illustrated by a mushroom progress, which ties him to his home. For this I’ve to reactivate summary apparatuses within the forest, discover parts and activate them with the voice of the singer.
The ghost of Nina can work together primarily by means of her voice and breathe life into gear. Some passages require a sure timing, for instance when I’ve to activate lamps within the palms of shadow creatures. She also can float to greater platforms on the contact of a button, for instance to choose up essential gadgets or activate a swap.
Great environment, mediocre game
The Forest Quartet is very convincing audiovisually – as a result of the gloomy forest is bathed in very respectable, heat mild by Nina, which typically attracts nice panoramas and sceneries on the display. The tender soundtrack and clear results underline this dense environment. This nice power of The Forest Quartet is sadly not underlined by way of gameplay. Where Rime typically levels thrilling puzzles, actual ambition may be very not often current right here.
Most of the duties could be solved in a short time, despite the fact that there are a surprisingly massive variety of puzzle variations within the just below one and a half hours of gameplay, starting from swap puzzles to mini-puzzles. Nevertheless, after the credit you sadly have the sensation that you’ve solely accomplished the tutorial of a game. The vital theme and its soulful implementation, which is given much more depth with podcast-like conversations between the band members, sadly cannot fairly make up for this weak point, which in the end makes The Forest Quartet appear considerably inconsequential. Narratively, the journey does not supply rather more than its primary theme both, counting on the abstraction of the person characters’ types of grief. This is empathetic, but additionally not significantly wealthy in twists and turns.