The power of fire, if used correctly, can be a useful tool indeed – and that’s what our young hero Phoenix here is trying to accomplish. From the developers at Stingbot Games comes a new and magical journey titled The Forbidden Arts. Brought to life with vibrant colors and interesting character design, the new 2.5D side scrolling adventure will captivate the eyes of the young and the old with easy gameplay yet challenging puzzles.
“The Forbidden Arts is an action adventure platformer with a focus on discovery and exploration. When the hero of the game, Phoenix, seeks the counsel of a druid to make sense of his visions, she awakens the latent pyromancy within him. This begins an epic journey from Phoenix’s humble beginnings as he seeks to master the element of fire”.
The premise of the game is fairly straight forward. Making it to the end of the stage, and survive platform levels full of puzzles including spinning blades, fireballs and honey sink holes. You have a fire ability – pyromancy -that you learn to use over time that will aid you in completing said levels. This power can be used in multiple ways throughout the mazes to help reach certain locations or shoot at the enemy. Using LB you can choose different fire based skills such as a fireball, a fire shield and so on. Using these actions will drain your magic meter – so keep an eye on it. This can be refilled by standing in front of a campfire or fire post.
Enemy design is interesting, remember back on the Nintendo 64 when some characters were just creepy – sometimes even unintentionally scary? These character designs are just that, but in HD. The spiders especially, with faces that look like they belong back in a Banjoo-Kazooie game. By far this isn’t a bad thing, just creepy. Wolves and pixies, among other things, will shoot lasers or balls of light trying to stop our young hero. Each stage has a boss fight also; bigger versions of enemies with varying attacks which can take some time to figure out how to beat.
The stage’s are well designed, all with multiple heights and paths – you’ll need to learn how to scale walls and climb vines to get where you’re going. TFA has taken inspiration from older titles in it’s move-set, like the knife in wall slow slide and the hop-hop from wall to wall to get to the top. The backgrounds – at once cartoon-y, yet with realistic elements – scroll along behind you adding even more atmosphere and depth, and boasts a familiar Fable feel to the art work. It looks very nice indeed.
The puzzles in TFA just laugh at you with some places being really hard to reach. There a nicely paced challenge along the way; flipping switches to release boulders and other such mechanics gives a nice variety of challenges along your journey. Another interesting factor is the world map, which is actually in 3rd person mode. During these sections of the game is where most of the dialog between NPC’s occurs, and acts as the port to other areas of the world. Jungles, iced mountain tops and more will add new elements and aspects to gameplay and how you may tackle an obstacle.
The Forbidden Arts is a beautiful, vibrant and fun game for the whole family. Side scrolling action at its best, it also brings a tiny bit of nostalgia along for the ride. Challenging puzzles make this game addictive, while great design keeps you looking at the screen.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.