Frido takes a look at the point-and-click puzzle game FranBow.
Fran Bow is a nice, serene game about a young girl trying to find her kitty, Mr. Midnight. HA just kidding it’s a messed up game about the effects of medication on the human mind. Some minor spoilers. Let’s dig in.
Fran Bow is a point-and-click puzzle game. The game starts where Fran is recounting her memories during therapy. She is in a mental hospital for supposedly killing her parents. Her doctor, Dr. Deern, advises her to take a new kind of medication. When she takes said medication, Fran sees heads falling from the ceiling and a spray of blood across the walls. Fran collapses and Dr. Deern advises the nurse that she should never be allowed to take this medication again. When Fran is unconscious, she has a dream that her cat, Mr. Midnight, is calling out to her to escape the asylum and come find him, and that the medication will help her.
When Fran awakes, she is on her bed at the asylum; she has been asleep for many days. This is when players can fully take control of Fran and begin their escape from the asylum.
Fran Bow is a beautiful masterpiece with its’ own artistic style. There aren’t many things to complain about within the realm of Fran Bow. The game is well developed and provides a new challenge as Fran slips between the real world and what I call the pill world. The game makes players question what may or may not be real. And with a grim and gory overtone, it’s a nice twist to classics such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Fran is almost endearing. Players want to help her escape and overcome these obstacles, not only because it’s how you progress and the story is interesting, but because Fran herself is interesting as well. With her color and artistic style, she doesn’t stick out too much, which can be a nice change.
For a game to obtain such a creepy atmosphere with such basic graphics is a huge feat. Certain points have jumpscares, sure, but the sheer gore and creepiness that Fran sees when she goes into the pill world is amazing.
There are many memorable characters within Fran Bow. As you continue through the story, the characters are so well-written that players develop attachments or even hate for certain characters. There’s a point within the pill world that there is a little toy cat on a unicycle. Thinking that this is a one-off moment character players will almost just pass it by. As the story continues, that same toy cat appears over and over and it’s almost expected when entering a new area.
Fran Bow is a really long game. There are no collectibles just the story. With an 8+ hour storyline, that is decently long for an indie Steam game. The game is split across five chapters and each one is a puzzle to try and basically save Fran’s life. My personal favorite is chapter two. The atmosphere and the fear that it gives is very on point. With that said, there are chapters that tend to drag on and that I didn’t enjoy. One of the later chapters is one of those. Spoilers, later in the game there’s a chapter where Fran can use a machine to control the weather. Players have to switch between the four different seasons to find the items they need to continue. The chapter takes way too long as players are scouring for one simple item.
The biggest issue with Fran Bow is that there are a lot of plot holes that aren’t explained at all. The ending is very good and I enjoyed it, but playing through a second time there are a lot of things that aren’t covered. There are a lot of fans theories spanning the internet currently and some of them seem really accurate. None, however, have been confirmed.
Fran Bow is an amazing masterpiece of storytelling. The ending is full of holes, but the journey to get there is worth it. Fran Bow has memorable characters and a creepy atmosphere that I can fully appreciate. Developer Killmonday Games AB have recently released a demo of a new game called, Little Misfortune. The game does not currently have a release date and Steam just states 2019. There’s no word on whether these worlds will be linked in any way, but it still has the creepy atmosphere of Fran Bow that is so beloved. I highly recommend Fran Bow for anyone who is brave enough handle its gore.