Forgotten Forest: Afterlife ($2.99) by Six Foot Kid is a match-three game that is unlike anything you’ve ever played before. No matter how many match-three puzzles you’ve played prior, take what you know about the genre and toss it out the window, because Forgotten Forest: Afterlife (FFA for short) breaks the traditional mold.
Over the years, one genre that I’ve always enjoyed, especially on mobile devices, is the match-three puzzle. My love for these started with the classic Bejeweled (I’m sure it did for everyone), and I’ve always been eager to try new ones since. However, I noticed an over-saturation of these games on the App Store, so I’ll admit, it got a bit tiring at times — some new game would just be the same thing as something else I’ve played, just with a different skin. So when news of FFA hit my inbox, I was intrigued, as it looked a bit different from the standard fare.
Visually, FFA has some beautiful aesthetics, and I’m in love with the darker art style, since you don’t usually see that in a match-three puzzle game. The colors are vibrant and rich, which has a lot to do with the stark dark backgrounds that the puzzles are on. The characters that you come across are insanely detailed, as well as each game piece on the board, and animations are smooth and fluid. To top things off, FFA has a soundtrack that is both hauntingly eerie and soothing at the same time, so it adds a nice vibe to the game’s tone and helps you focus on the puzzles at hand. Overall, I believe Six Foot Kid did an excellent job with the game’s graphics and audio effects.
Like other puzzle games, FFA is level-based, and players will go through the stages one-by-one on a world map format. While the game only has 30 levels at the moment, getting through them all and gathering all of the objects will take a bit of time, so I believe that the content is well worth the price tag. The goal in each stage is to collect the blue flame that is somewhere on the grid, while also getting the small memory shards scattered about, and then light up the torch with the flame you picked up earlier. To make things challenging, there is a move limit for each level, but you can increase it by one or two by making large matches (this also leads to some strategic planning). Despite the restricted number of moves per stage, the game is still relaxing since you can take as long as you need to on each puzzle.
In FFA, making matches is easy. Just draw a line that connects at least three forest tokens together, and the line can go horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally. If you are matching up a large cluster of tokens, then a number pops up on the match — this indicates the number of moves you are earning back from that large group. However, just making matches on the board won’t help Aster, the character you control who is on a journey to reach her afterlife, reach the flame and memory shards that she needs to progress. So what do you do to help move her around on the board? Start a matching chain with her and she will be able to create paths to navigate herself on the board. When you are next to a flame or shard, just tap on it to collect it, and then make your way to the front of the torch and light it up with a tap to complete the stage.
Even though there is no scoring system in place, the game has Game Center integration for a handful of achievements, so there is a bit of replay value to be found here. Plus, I found that this is just a good game to sit back and relax with in general.
As a big fan of match-three games, I’m pleased with what Six Foot Kid has brought to the table here. This is unlike any other match-three game I’ve played, since you are not only making matches, but creating a path on the board to reach the objective as well. There is more strategy involved, and you have to think about your moves before you make them, but it’s all done in a leisurely way so it’s not stressful. Plus, it looks great and the music is delightful, which is a plus.
I highly recommend checking out Forgotten Forest: Afterlife if you are a match-three puzzle game fan and want something that stands out from the crowd. Forgotten Forest: Afterlife is available on the App Store for your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and costs $2.99.