Forma.8 GO ($3.99) by Mixedbag Srl is a Metroidvania-style action adventure game with a huge world for players to explore. If you liked games such as Traps n’ Gemstones and even Badland 2, then you will love what forma.8 GO has to offer.
While Metroid and Castlevania have been around since the ‘80s, I honestly did not have them when they first came out, so I never experienced the originals in their prime. However, I discovered both Metroid and Castlevania games later on while I was in high school and had Game Boy Advance and the first Nintendo DS handhelds, and fell in love with the formula. If you aren’t aware, the term “Metroidvania” means that a game has gameplay concepts that are similar to both the Metroid series as well as some Castlevania elements, and they involve plenty of rooms that are all connected to each other and plenty of backtracking is involved to make progress. These games always have a grand sense of adventure, and it’s easy to get lost in these titles for hours on end. I love Castlevania more so than Metroid, to be honest, but Metroidvania games in general are just plenty of fun, though I don’t see them too often ton iOS. So when I saw forma.8 GO was classifying itself as a Metroidvania, I had to get my hands on it. Needless to say, I’m not disappointed.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, forma.8 GO is beautiful with its rather minimalist vector art style. The game sports a flat aesthetic that looks amazing with the wide range of colors that go from soft pastels to vibrant hues to muted earthy tones, and the dark silhouettes provide excellent contrast. The game world is huge and vast, but you can easily spot your own character (a small exploration probe) and enemies because of the light trail you leave behind and creepy red eyes. Power-ups are an essential part of the game, and they are instantly recognizable because of their blue glow. Animations are smooth and fluid in forma.8 GO, so I had no lag on my iPhone 7. There’s also an ambient and rather atmospheric soundtrack that plays in the background, and it pulls you into the game well, so it just makes everything more immersive. The sound effects are delightful and add a bit of extra pizazz to forma.8 GO too. Overall, as the developer’s first App Store release, I’d say they knocked it out of the park with forma.8 GO’s audio and visual design.
What exactly is forma.8 GO, in terms of story? The game looks gorgeous, but there’s much more depth to the game than you’d think at first glance. In forma.8 GO, you take control of a small exploration probe, called forma.8, which has been accidentally separated from all companions. Now forma.8 must set out on a life-or-death mission of recovering a lost, powerful energy source before it’s too late and all hope is lost. At first, it looks like you just crash landed on some random planet, but as you delve deeper into the game, forma.8 will discover ancient civilizations, visions of dystopia, perilous worlds, and many more secrets are waiting to be found.
Since forma.8 GO is a Metroidvania-style action adventure, there are no levels for players to complete — it’s all one seamless environment, where you go from room-to-room and solve puzzles, defeat some enemies, and collect power-ups to advance in the game. You start out in the first room and there’s a small tutorial that tells you the basics of the controls, and as you gain new abilities, the game informs you of how to activate them. These newly acquired skills are what you need to get past rooms that you were previously stuck at before, so again, a lot of backtracking is involved here. What I love the most about forma.8 GO’s world is the fact that each room is connected and transitions flawlessly into each other, with barely any wait time aside from screen fades. Since forma.8 GO features a gigantic world, you can always access the map by touching the compass button in the top right corner. It reveals the rooms that you’ve been to, as well as the one you are currently in. Passageways that connect to other rooms are displayed as white squares.
The controls in forma.8 GO are simple, intuitive, and clearly made for touch screens. To move forma.8, just drag your thumb around in the bottom right corner area of the screen. Since forma.8 is a mechanical probe, it’s able to freely move around and even hover when your thumb is off the screen for any reason. Once you acquire your first power-up, you’ll be able to have forma.8 emit a nova around him, which can activate switches and damage foes, and this is activated with a tap on the right half of the screen. Other power-ups include things like bombs that can be dropped behind you by swiping to the left, and they will detonate after a few moments. As you collect the power-ups for forma.8, a brief visual on the screen tells you what direction to swipe in to activate your new toy. The swipe controls for actions does take a bit of getting used to, but once you feel comfortable with it, they just become second nature.
While forma.8 GO is an action-adventure game, there will be a lot of puzzles that need to be solved before you can make progress. Some of these puzzles are pretty easy to figure out, while others may be a bit tougher. Regardless, they add some critical thinking elements into the game, which I love, since it means more depth. And of course, there are enemies and bosses that will stand in your way of reaching the objective, so there’s a nice mix of everything in this minimalistic Metroidvania.
With not many Metroidvania style games on the App Store, forma.8 GO stands out as a must-have on the App Store if you’re a fan of the genre.
With not many Metroidvania style games on the App Store, forma.8 GO stands out as a must-have on the App Store if you’re a fan of the genre. The hand-drawn vector graphics are downright stunning to look at, and the subtle soundtrack is both soothing and captivating. The map for the game is huge, and it contains plenty of content to keep players interested for hours on end, so it’s a good value, considering the price. Things move at a nice, gradual pace in forma.8 GO, and the mix of puzzles and action is perfectly balanced.
The controls are definitely interesting and require some practice to get used to, which is the only slightly negative thing I can think of. Otherwise, forma.8 GO is a fantastic Metroidvania style game, unless you’re not a fan of lengthy adventures.
I’ve only began to dive into forma.8 GO this morning, but so far I’m in love. The game looks breathtaking, especially if you appreciate minimalistic vector graphics, and the music is a joy to listen to. As a fan of Metroidvania games, I’m sad to see the lack of them in the App Store, so forma.8 GO is a pleasant surprise in recent weeks. I’m a bit surprised at how big the map is, and the controls require a bit of practice to get the hang of things, but it just feels right after you get used to it. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the game, and I look forward to playing it even more when I have the opportunity to do so.
I highly recommend forma.8 GO if you enjoy action adventure games with dashes of puzzle solving, or just crave a Metroidvania game on your iOS device. You can find forma.8 GO on the App Store as a universal download on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for $3.99. There is also an iMessage sticker pack included, and no other in-app purchases.