Fran Bow is one of the most memorable, haunting and interesting downloadable games I have played in quite some time. It is so easy to look at those 2.5D hand drawn style graphics and the “horror” tone and pass this game off as one that is just all about scares. Fran Bow is far more than that and I would say it is a game that you will remember for many years to come.
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The Game Review
In talking about Fran Bow I really want to be careful as the story that the game tells is incredibly powerful. Basically, you play as a young girl called Fran. Who one day finds her parents horribly murdered corpses in her family home! Running away with her beloved cat, Mr. Midnight. Fran finds herself alone, freaked out and scared in the woods.
She awakes in a mental institution for children that looks and feels like a truly horrific place. Her cat is gone and she decides that she needs out of this place so she can save Mr. Midnight and get to her Aunt who is her living relative. The story is very, very well done and I strongly suggest you do not read into it too much before you play it.
Fran Bow is a game that is about mental illness and loss. It even deals with medication to “help” both of these things. The thing is Fran Bow does this better than any game I have ever played in terms of its storytelling and what at first feels like a “medication can fix everything” changes as Fran takes on her “demons” head on.
You see when Fran takes her “medication” the world changes into something even darker than the reality she is facing and it looks fantastic. The core of the gameplay is actually puzzle based and the puzzles can be rather head-scratching in places, but I never fond them overly cryptic to the point where I got frustrated.
There are also some fun mini-games that are sprinkled in as well as these do serve as a fun distraction as you play the game. One thing I will say is that the various characters you come across are all worth talking to and they help flesh out Fran’s struggles even more. There is plenty to do here and I found myself wanting to know more and more as I played the game. It even has moments that will give you a chuckle as you play. It really is a game that plays with all of your emotions.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. I was completely blown away by the different worlds that are in this game. Fran’s mind is a very interesting place and I find her plight kind of similar to Alice in Wonderland all be it in a much darker and scarier fashion. Even the soundtrack is truly spectacular and fits the style of the game very well.
Fran Bow is one of the most unique games that I have ever played. The more I talk about it the more I would take away from your own experience with the game. If you want to play a game that is really going to make you think then you cannot go wrong with this. By far one of the easiest games for me to ever recommend.
- Breathtaking artwork
- One of the finest stories I have come across in a game
- Some very grisly sections in the game
- Plenty of puzzles and minigames for you to do
- Deals with mental illness better than any other game I have played
- Once you have played it, you may not want to go back to it
- The subject matter is incredibly dark