The Forgotten City is a FPP mystery game. You play as an unnamed character of whichever sex you prefer. You were dragged out of the river Tiber. You don’t remember much about yourself, however that doesn’t matter because you don’t have time to sit and figure it out. A woman and her friend came here and she was told to stay here by the river and not to follow him just in case it was dangerous. Well she’s kept her promise, but she hasn’t seen or heard from him in a while so she was hoping you’d pretty please investigate, find him, and bring him back. Well fuck it, sure, why not? So off you go to the only structure you can find. a small shrine of some sort. However when you step in you soon fall into a pool of water inside an ancient bathhouse of some sort, and there’s no way to get back up. So you push on, you find many a golden human statue, until you come to a golden statue of an old man who seemingly hung himself with a stone tablet beside him indicating this was the guy you were looking for. Well fuck, time to find your way out, only to find a single building you still standing, a shrine of some sort, inside is some sort of portal. When you step into it, it disappears, you find yourself in the shrine you were in previously, however everything’s changed you’ve gone back in time it seems, there’s people, but they’re not from your time. It seems you’ve stepped into the time where the Roman Empire was still spreading. And upon meeting the leader of this small community of around twenty, you find there’s only one rule here, the golden rule they call it. Break it and everyone dies, not that you’re told exactly what that rule is. However, the leader is pretty sure the rule is going to be broken today, it’s up to you to save these people, and yourself, as well as find a way out of this hellhole.
The game has a time limit to it, it’s not a fast limit though, you have plenty of time, no need to fear. You are expected, required even, to fuck up. When the golden rule is broken, the leader runs to the shrine and activates the portal, you can step into it to go back to the start of the day. You keep anything in your inventory, and can find the same objects again in the world on the next loop, so you can keep taking the same set of money and just infinitely grow your cash if you want, same with other objects. You have to investigate who causes the rule to be broken and stop it, only to constantly find that others are going to break it too and needing to stop them as well. You have to talk with the inhabitants of this place, learn about them and solve issues between various members so that hopefully they don’t kill each other, all while exploring this place to try and find a way back to your time. Because of this, the game kind of reminds me of the various Sherlock Holmes games, all of which I rather enjoy.
There’s not much for fighting in the game, because that breaks the rule, so does stealing, and a few other things. So it’s all about doing things in such a way to get what you want without breaking the rule, or breaking it and getting to the temple as fast as possible so you aren’t punished via death. There’s usually multiple ways to deal with everything which is nice, usually there’s a good way that doesn’t get you in trouble, or a bad way that’s basically a big fuck you which causes a loop. My first playthrough I think it took me around seven-ish loops, but you can complete the game in just three, which is the minimum requirements. Another thing that makes the game somewhat difficulty is that the characters aren’t just stationary, for the most part. They have things they do during the day, so you can follow them around and see where all they go and when which is cool, though it does become kind of a problem if you don’t know where they are at the time and need to talk to a specific one.
There is some minor platforming in the game in a few small sections, nothing particularly hard. As such there’s no need to worry about that. Most of the game instead focuses on talking to players, picking the right dialogues in order to get them to open up, and you can fail these with some characters to which they will outright refuse to talk to you for the remainder of that loop locking you out of being able to maybe solve some issues. There’s a bunch of branches when talking to some people which are all fun to explore, at least for me anyways.
All in all I rather enjoyed my time with the game, there’s not a lot of puzzle to it, mostly it’s just solving mysteries by talking to people and finding bits of evidence around the rather sprawling city. The only real issue I have with the game is some of the philosophical stuff that you can talk about with one specific person during the fourth ending, oh yeah and there’s four different proper endings which go from this is the worst possible way you could have managed to this is around about the best you could have managed. Other than that I would have liked some more time each loop simply because I’m one of those types of players that I’d like to do literally everything possible in a single loop even if that still leaves me with the need to re-loop to do the right things. After all if you have nothing to do you can simply cause the loop by doing something bad and getting to the temple, so more time would have made it more fun for me personally.
A review copy of the game was provided by the publishers, Dear Villagers.
darkmikasonfire awards The Forgotten City the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.