Indie platformers have been a bit played out over the years. Since the indie bubble started expanding in the mid-2000s, thousands of 2D platformers have seen release. In addition, the genre was the focal point for many of the early 'indie darlings'. Following in the grand indie tradition The Forbidden Arts is an indie platformer, but with a slight twist. The game is 2.5D, meaning that you're looking at full 3D renders on a 2D plane. You control a pyromancer and must battle your way through other elemental users to defeat an evil necromancer, gaining new powers as you defeat powerful bosses. As the game is soon to leave Early Access we took a quick look at the game ahead of a final patch which adds some much-needed NPC support.
You can probably tell by my above description that The Forbidden Arts is a little generic, especially with the storyline. Playing an elemental hero who must defeat other elemental monsters to gain their powers is probably one of the most overused tropes in video games. Similarly, the level design seems pretty 'tried and true'. You start out in a grassy level and make your way through swamps, ice levels, mines and just about every other type of platformer level you can think of. The only possible exception to this is the level based on a beehive, which is at least a little more unique. Just because the levels and story are a little overdone doesn't mean that the game is necessarily bad though.
The Forbidden Arts does have its strong points. Firstly is the platforming which is pretty damn fluid and easy to use. There are plenty of moments which will be challenging to even the most hardened of platformer veterans. As you go you unlock new powers, most of which are used for different platforming challenges. The double jump is a genre mainstay, and it's here alongside a super run and a night vision equivalent. Some of the most interesting moments come when you need to combine these powers to overcome challenges. Of course, it is a shame that you can't use two powers at once but overall the powers work well. Similarly, exploration is a lot of fun. The pure amount of collectibles are a great incentive to keep checking each corner of the sprawling levels.
Unfortunately, that's where the strong points end. The final nail in the coffin is the combat which is as dull as a rock. You have one basic type of attack in the form of a triple-slash which never changes. Even with the ability to shoot fire the combat always feels the same. Combine with some truly baffling AI programming and the combat is honestly better off avoided. Most of the time you're better off just running past everything and aiming straight for the end of the stages. Hopefully, when the final update comes it will make some changes to the dull combat as well as adding some much-needed NPC chatter to explain some of the more obtuse mechanics which occur especially towards the end of the game.
Did you enjoy our video preview of The Forbidden Arts? What do you think of the game? Let us know in the comment section down below.
TechRaptor covered The Forbidden Arts on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.