Fran Bow – Don’t Take The Red Pill!

Fran Bow is a Tim Burton-esque/Lovecraftian/Alice In Wonderland themed point and click adventure from Killmonday Games HB. So without further ado, let’s jump into the review for this rather creepy game!

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Fran is not that easily dissuaded from escaping…

In Fran Bow, we follow a young girl, Fran, as she tries to reunite with her kitten and find her way home…after escaping a mental institution… and finding her murdered parents bodies. Oh yes, if you’re looking for a Disney Princess point and click adventure, look elsewhere. The story of Fran Bow is dark and twisted- and I love it. The best part about the story is that the more time you invest in exploring, the more about the world and the backstory is revealed. I will warn you that the story, particularly the ending is very… bizarre and like Typing of the Dead: Overkill left me wondering what on earth I had played (although not in the same, thank goodness). But I enjoyed the dark fairy tale/ Lovecraft feel that the game provides. And this story is dark. Fran is not only struggling to get home but is also struggling with some sort of mental condition, that allows her to see a twisted version of reality, think lots of blood and rotting corpses. Did I mention this game was dark?

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Introducing Itward, the best character in the game.

In fact, the ability to switch between our reality and the more twisted reality, with the use of some red pills, is Fran Bow‘s unique gameplay mechanic. Some items can only be seen in one reality or even some paths can only be taken. You get the feeling dread as you realise you have to use the pills and you often wonder what the game will throw at you as enter the more twisted reality. The pills can also make you more paranoid as some characters change into more monstrous beings and it makes you wonder what on earth is going on. For me, this makes the game more than just your run of the mill point and click adventure and compels you to reach the end.

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Apparently you can make a mental institution even more creepier, with red pills.

Pacing in the game is, for the most part, spot on. The story, while it doesn’t rush and gives you a chance to delve into this twisted world, does move quite rapidly. You’ll probably finish the game in about six hours. As long as you don’t get stuck on the damn mini games. And this is my major problem with Fran Bow. Everytime the plot is progressing, it just stops so you can play one of the most frustrating mini games you’ll come across. The two that stand out for me are the sliding puzzle, which I hate because I can’t stand sliding puzzles; and the jumping mini game, where you have to make Fran jump over gaps while being chased. The problem with that mini game is you can’t alter Fran’s speed and the game decides to change its mind how far she can jump, so you end up repeating it time and time again. It feels like these mini games are in the game to add more playing time but the Fran Bow doesn’t need it; I would have been happy with the game without the mini games.

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This damn puzzle…

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How I felt after the 15th time Fran failed to jump.

Overall, I highly recommend Fran Bow if you are looking for a point and click adventure game to play. It’s story is complex and you’ll probably be left at the end wondering what it all meant, in a good way. I enjoyed the world that was created and hope the developers explore more of this world in a future game. The only downside is the mini game fillers but some of them are skippable, so it’s not too much of a drawback. If you are looking for a creepy and paranoia inducing point and click adventure, then Fran Bow is the game for you.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a black cat to find…

 

 

 

With property owned by Killmonday Games HB, all screenshots from Fran Bow can be found on franbow.com and the Darth Vader picture can be found at huffingtonpost.com.

Last played on 15/05/16.

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