Top Critic Average
Having seen the end of its development, Stingbot Games’ The Forbidden Arts is a platformer worth looking into. With plenty of refinement from the start of its Early Access to the final releases on both the PC and the consoles, this 2D meets 3D adventure of a Pyromancer coming into his power is a lot of fun.
The Forbidden Arts is charming, colorful, and has its heart in the right place. The 2D portions make up the bulk of the experience resulting in fun exploration and boss fights. The 3D portions are bland and empty making it not the focus if that was one's assumption. That leaves everything else riding on the 2D levels which are fine as they are, being varied and full of enemies, hazards and platforming challenges. It's the poor implementation of the mechanics and design that hinders the experience. What you think should work and doesn't only causes frustration. Toss in a few glitches and you only wish this had more time in the oven. Still, it's a solid effort that's likable. If you can get past the hurdles, you'll be left satisfied with a side of disappointment for dessert.
The Forbidden Arts had a lot of potentials to be a good platformer but because of many technical issues in different parts and aspects of the game, it is far from being good. There are very annoying issues in gameplay like sloping down from flat surfaces that could simply irritate anyone after some time and there are also some parts in the game that seem very incomplete and redundant. There are other issues in terms of sound and technical aspect of graphics. The game has a good overall level design and the artistic aspect of graphics is also very good with a beautiful style, but unfortunately, these are not enough to make this game a good choice to play, because technical issues affected every elements if the game.
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The gameplay, art, and controls are all solid, the music is nice but an odd choice for a platformer, and the voice acting is good, but it's largely marred by the mashup fanfic plot. I found a few bugs, and there was some lag in controls, but they were largely incidental, and to be expected in a small team game this soon out of Early Access.
The Forbidden Arts feels like a game from the early GameCube era, but not a particularly good one. Whilst the dungeons are vast and varied, and the platforming mechanics competent enough, the combat really brings the whole experience to its knees thanks to poor enemy AI and half baked elemental mechanics that make the entire experience feel very repetitive. Add to that the lacklustre graphics and empty overworld, and this is a game that only the most ardent of fantasy enthusiasts will enjoy.
There’s a fair amount of content to go through here, and there’s sparks of enjoyment scattered throughout the game. Most of the time, however, I was left frustrated and disappointed by the game’s rough combat, mediocre platforming, and lackluster presentation.
To summarise – I did not enjoy my time with The Forbidden Arts. It feels to me like a game that could do with an extra 6 months in development to iron out some of my niggling issues. Though, that still might not help the uninspiring narrative.