Switch version tested
Review code provided
When all of the forest animals become lost in the woods it’s up to you to help them find their way back to safety in Forest Home. FH is a mobile port of a line based puzzler similar to games like Lines and Flow. In order to give this game its proper due, I enrolled the help of my 8-year-old daughter to see if what was created is fun or just another dead on arrival port.
From the onset, FH turns up the cute factor to 11. Bright colourful graphics explode off the screen immediately pulling you into with its charm. From the beginning, FH introduces players to a cute cast of forest animals all with own unique homes in which you must guide them to. Leaving behind a bright colourful trail, you paint the grid with your pattern as you safely return the animals home. Each section has its own theme and design as well as hazards that fill the interactive movement grid. While nothing is standout the vast majority do a great job flowing from stage to stage without any sudden jolting changes in design.
Mobile ports can be hit or miss almost completely based on how controls implemented or if touch input has been included. Thankfully, FH carried its touchscreen inputs making this an easy pick up and play title. While the controls are easy to pick up mastering the gameplay is not. As you progress through the level’s obstacles such as thorn bushes and boulders, you are also introduced to course altering tasks like obtaining food before returning home. The touch input is concise and responsive. If you opt to play via controllers the input is handled via the left analogue stick and a button prompt.
Audio-wise FH is passable. The handful of sounds you here begin to get annoying after a few loops. Unfortunately, the environmental backing sound is not much better. Quality-wise, the sound is superb. Everything is crisp and done at a high level, unfortunately, what’s here is just not engaging. The musical tunes throughout feel like they were ripped from the do it yourself indie game catalogue. My daughter played a lot of the game with headphones on listening to an audiobook.
Being a mobile port you would expect FH to be riddled with microtransactions and gated content. Thankfully for the price of $14.99 USD (£13.49) the devs have removed these and instead allow you to just earn golden acorns (in-game currency). Completing each act brings the player to a glorified slot machine in the form of a totem. Here you have the opportunity to earn extra acorns… I say opportunity but really means you press a button to get acorns, there is no risk and I have yet to fail. I think it’s important to note that having my daughter play this and tell me that we should go to Vegas to win the slots was alarming. While having a fail free bonus round centred around slots is fun games like Super Mario 2 were doing the same the thing decades before but also allowing the chance to fail to show that there are inherent risks for the rewards.
Forest Home is a solid built mobile port. The cute and alluring creatures that you get to interact with and ultimate collect through your journey are not enough to shake the fact that this game is a line puzzler that has been done many times before and available a lot cheaper. There is not a lot of value in this one at the current price. My daughter has moved on to other games and has not returned since her initial weekend with it.
TBG Score: 5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20/06/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Puzzle, Strategy
Developer: The Binary Mill
Publisher: NextGen Reality
Download link: eShop