Also On: PC
On the surface, Forest Legends: The Call of Love looks and plays a lot like both of Alawar's previous PS3 releases, Twisted Lands: Shadow Town and Mountain Crime: Requital. Somewhat nonsensical, difficult-to-follow plot? Check. Atrociously hilarious voice acting? Obviously. Static screen after static screen, with the odd cut scene thrown in whenever the game decides to move the story along? You know it. Iffy graphics? Check, albeit with a caveat which I'll get to shortly. Hidden object game? Che — wait, hold on a second. Surprisingly, the answer here is a simple "no".
What makes this surprising is that, as I just said, in every other respect the game is identical to those other ones. The similarities go all the way down to the fact that every screen features very obviously highlighted spots that you need to click on in order to find things. The only difference is that, rather than being hidden, these key story objects are just lying out in the open, waiting to be picked up. While I suppose that makes for a slightly more realistic game (in that you don't need to wonder how or why basketballs and dollar signs came to be scattered around random areas), it doesn't make for a more interesting one. Heck, I'll be even more blunt than that: it exposes Forest Legends' fatal flaw, which is that there's not nearly enough content here to support a game.
Admittedly, Alawar tried covering this up by including a few more puzzles in the game. The thing is, very few of the puzzles are very difficult, and none of them add to the game's length in any substantial way. In fact, some of them cut the game's length down even further — witness the "potions" component of the game, which strips away any semblance of player agency by having the game do all the mixing itself.
This might not have been an issue if the other aspects of the game were a little more interesting, but…I don't know, it seems like it should almost go without saying here that they're not. The voice acting is hilariously bad. The story is kind of bizarre, and centers around a Romeo and Juliet-style forbidden love between a human and being that looks like a poorly-drawn furry fantasy.
And the graphics. Oh, the graphics. Listen, for the first minute or two of Forest Legends, I was genuinely impressed. There was some really neat art going on, kind of like a Limbo-style silhouette-thing with a little more color. And then the game cut to its main story, and things devolved a little (see: the previous mention of the poorly-drawn furry fantasy) — though, to be fair, the backgrounds were still nice, even if the characters were kind of comical-looking. And then it just got worse and worse, reaching its nadir when you're speaking with a terrifying fairy that stares at you with giant, unblinking eyes.
That stare. Oh God, that stare.
In any case, all of this might be forgiven if there was enough content to sustain a whole game — as I wrote a few weeks ago, one of the great things about hidden object games is that even if they're seldom great, they're also rarely terrible. Forest Legends: The Call of Love doesn't have that safety net; while it's definitely not quite terrible, it's also not content-filled enough to be worth a purchase unless you're really desperate for a puzzle game.