After doing the rounds on other platforms, True Fear Forsaken Souls – Part 1, has arrived on Xbox, offering the first part of this psychological horror series which sees you exploring multiple locations in a quest to uncover what happened to your sisters, and unearth secrets from your family’s past. However, True Fear Forsaken Souls isn’t a walking sim or survival horror experience, but rather a point and click adventure with highly detailed and creepy stills, the odd animation and particle-effect, alongside some 3D cutscenes for story-heavy sections. It’s a good horror tale as well, with exceptionally good atmosphere helping to sell the creepy locations to a pleasantly immersive degree.
This is a puzzle heavy experience, comprising of you travelling between scenes in a location, finding objects and solving puzzles to unlock more object, more puzzles, and – of course – more story. Moving between scenes is fast and intuitive: hitting directions on the d-pad moves you around logically within the space – a room on the left can be access by pressing left on the d-pad – or you can drag your cursor and click where you want to go. Additionally, you can call up a map of the scenes in an area and travel quickly to any part. It’s well-designed and makes traversal effortless, making the frequent backtracking less of an inconvenience, and allowing you to focus more on the puzzles.
These puzzles are initially varied and clever, involving mechanics such as finding missing pieces, finding objects to remove obstacles, piecing pictures together, repairing, or combining multiple objects together, etc. Moreover, there are some puzzle sections that are self-enclosed puzzle box style challenges that don’t require items collected anywhere outside of that particular puzzle area, which makes for some brilliantly focused Rude Goldburg-like experiences.
As with many point and click adventures games, True Fear Forsaken Souls does occasionally suffer some developer logic issues, whether with an obscure solve – which there are seldom of here to be fair – or more commonly, objects that should be fine to solve a problem not matching the very specific object that does in fact solve the puzzle. It’s not too egregious though, although it does mean the game is strictly linear.
True Fear Forsaken Souls scene stills are wonderfully detailed and creepy, imitating lighting splendidly to give off a very unsettling atmosphere. Meanwhile, a little cliched but nonetheless very effective music helps sell the horror even more. Furthermore, occasionally a 3D cutscene will play that ramps up the horror and bit more. The animation is a bit stiff, and the protagonist is expressionless, which gives it an early 2000s feel about it, but this proves less jarring than you might think, and in fact feels nostalgic. It’s very much an adventure game of yore, with some convenient mod-cons.
The aforementioned quick travel is complimented by a hint system that points to way if you get stuck, and even the ability to skip puzzles. True Fear Forsaken Souls doesn’t leave you pondering a puzzle or where to go next without offering a helping hand if you want it, making it one of the more player-friendly point and click titles on the market. It’s not perfect, items you need to collect easily blend into the environments and colour-based puzzles may prove unsolvable to colour blind players, but certainly the developers have attempted to make True Fear Forsaken Souls accessible.
True Fear Forsaken Souls is never downright scary, but it’s definitely creepy and unsettling. This is a highly atmospheric adventure game that can really lure you in. Smart puzzles and exceptional art makes this experience memorable and hints at a promising future for the series. The puzzle variety loses its lustre a bit after the first act, but the story is intriguing enough to keep you engaged. This is a strong point and click adventure for those looking for a less confrontational horror experience.
Creepy atmosphere, well-designed puzzles and hint system, and an intriguing story makes True Fear Forsaken Souls - Part 1 an compelling hidden object/point and click adventure, although some tedium in the latter half of the game, and out-dated 3D cinematics dulls the shine a bit.