When the first episode of Forever Lost launched in October of last year, I was absolutely blown away. It was a pleasant surprise, an inexpensive, yet skillfully crafted point-and-click adventure game from a company I had never heard of. Now, only 8 months later, Glitch Games has just released Episode 2.
During this review I will try to be as general as possible and not refer to specific puzzles or scenes in Episode 2 so as not to spoil any of the fun for you.
For those of you who played Episode 1, you may recall that the game ended just after you managed to escape wherever hospital, asylum or research facility it was that you were being captive in. Forever Lost: Episode 2 casts you back into that creepy and unsettling world, picking up right where you left off. Freedom may not have been as close as you thought and the reason that this is all happening to you remains a mystery. The only thing that is clear is that you need to keep pushing forward to find a way out. By exploring and solving puzzles you will not only help gain your freedom, but the crucial answers to the Where, Why and How questions that have been gnawing away at you since this crazy adventure began.
Once again the team at Glitch Games has created a brilliantly creepy, yet oddly inviting world for you to inhabit. The crisp Retina graphics and eerie soundtrack set the mood perfectly (especially with headphones). As you are enveloped by these auditory and visual stimuli, you can’t help but be drawn, hopelessly into this strange journey of discovery.
Since Episode 2 utilizes the same game engine as Episode 1, you have the exact same touch control scheme of tapping to navigate your surroundings and interacting with objects in your environment. Like any point-and-click adventure game, as you pick up items they are added to your inventory and it is up to you to figure out where and when you need to use them. Once again, Forever Lost challenges players with a great mix of logic, memory, wordplay and (my favorite) meta puzzles. There are even puzzles within puzzles! The devs seem to have gotten extra clever and creative this time around with plenty of aha moments when you either happen on a solution by accident or think of something in the middle of the night, or find one thing which starts a massive almost ‘Kaiser Soze’-like mass of neural connections and revelations that help you put a whole bunch of clues together.
As you play there is a nice overall sense of progression, without overtly revealing just how much of the game you have left to play, adding to the foggy vibe of mystery which makes this series so enjoyable. Without hints, the first episode took around 3 hours to complete and I’d estimate that this second episode has about double the content of the first. Forever Lost: Episode 2 took me roughly around 5 or so hours to complete. Players may take more or less time depending on how much they rely on the game’s built-in hint system.
One of the most unique aspects of the Forever Lost franchise is its in-game camera. If you’ve ever played a point-and-click adventure game before, you are well aware that you’ll often be spending a good deal of time going back and forth between locations trying to remember some specific piece of info written on a wall or the colors of an object or something. In Forever Lost, you always have a camera available to snap a photo of any room or whatever wall or object you are looking at, and you can even write notes on your photos as well. Sure, there is still plenty of backtracking and navigating around in the game, but the camera is a very useful too that will save you a few brain cells and perhaps a little sanity. Use it liberally.
That being said, unfortunately the sole issue I had with the camera in Episode 1 is still present in Episode 2. And that is the fact that if you leave the in-game photo album and go back in it will reset back to displaying the latest picture you took, instead of staying on the one you were last viewing. The developer said that it cannot be fixed for Episode 2 due to a limitation of the game engine, but it will definitely be something they address in Episode 3, which will use a brand-new engine.
Glitch Games has done a Fantastic job following up their excellent debut with a bigger, better and even more entertaining sequel. Forever Lost: Episode 2’s clever and challenging puzzles, fun pop-culture references and interesting and mysterious story-line kept me engrossed and invested from start to finish. After 5+ hours of gameplay and a satisfying cliffhanger of an ending, I’m left wanting more and once again eagerly awaiting the next (and possibly final) episode of this wonderful series. Well done!