I’d challenge anyone to find Ever Forward on Steam’s free-to-play list and ignore it.
A quick glance at the trailer will be enough to capture most people’s attention. It definitely worked on me. This is a beautiful puzzle game focusing on a world somewhere between the real, and the imaginary.
The creators have clearly placed a massive focus on art style here.
The first thing you’re going to notice is the beautiful imagery, which hovers somewhere between games like Portal, and a simplified version of Mirror’s Edge.
The title comes from Pathea Games, a company better-known for its farming simulator. The game “My Time at Portia”, is also available on Steam. You’ll notice it has a very distinct art-style of its own, similar to Ever Forward.
However, there’s clearly a big difference between what the company is trying to achieve today. My Time at Portia combines elements of The Sims and Stardew Valley with fights that reminded me of World of Warcraft.
Ever Forward is a highly story-focused game, with a lot of emotional depth.
Let’s take a closer look.
Onward into Adventure: The Demo
Notably, the free version of Ever Forward on Steam is only a demo. However, it features about 40% of the game, so you can definitely get a good taste for what the title is like.
If you’re familiar with Pathea Games’ earlier works, then Ever Forward is going to be a surprise. This isn’t your standard farming simulator.
Quickly reaching the top ten list on Steam, Ever Forward throws you into the life (or dreams) of a girl named Maya. Maya’s trapped in a world outside of reality. The exact world she’s in is clearly inspired by games like Portal and Journey – complete with turrets.
Like Portal, you go on a journey to learn more about who you are, and where you are.
The idea, as you move through the game, is to enjoy your surroundings, while putting your logical skills to the test. You’ll need to pay attention to every detail around you to solve the puzzles ahead.
I will say, the puzzles themselves aren’t that complicated at first. You’re not going to have much of a hard time progressing into the game. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for people who just want to see more of the game’s interesting art style.
As the game continues, you unlock sparkling memories that are even more attractive than the world you’re in. These memories tell you more about Maya, and the issue’s that she’s confronting in her new world.
Hidden Secrets and Memories: The Story
Compared to other, similar games I’ve played in the past, Ever Forward felt a little basic.
Although I loved the beauty of the game and saw what the designers were trying to accomplish, there was some soul lacking in the story. Of course, that’s just my opinion based on the demo.
It’s difficult to say before the rest of the game arrives whether the story will turn out as predictably as I think. For now, it doesn’t seem ground-breaking.
To me, it’s clear that Pathea Games are working through an experimental phase.
They’re doing something new, and that means exploring different art styles and concepts.
From an aesthetic perspective, the design is great. Some areas have a lot of fantastic depth to them, which makes the game much more immersive. I also love the idea that this game is actually exploring some issues with mental health which definitely seems to be the case.
The puzzles themselves are designed with a range of solutions to consider. There are a bunch of mechanics to play with. Plus, fans of Portal will enjoy the fact that you seem to get your own companion cube.
Unfortunately, just as the story felt a little simplistic to me, the puzzles were basic too. I didn’t feel challenged, and that’s a big issue for me in a puzzle game.
Still, you do get a good idea of what Maya can accomplish in her world in the demo. There’s more to the puzzles than running and jumping. You can teleport and control gravity too. There’s a lot of opportunities here for the Pathea Games developers to take this title to the next level.
Since Pathea spent 3 years crafting all the puzzles, there’s a good chance that they do get more mind-boggling.
Exploring a New Reality
As you work through Ever Forward, you discover that each new puzzle comes with a unique challenge. This variety is there to ensure that different kinds of thinkers can really make the most of the game. I really liked the fact that Pathea was appealing to more than one player.
Another bonus of this game is that it’s clear to see the heart and soul that went into it. I fully believe that the developers put their blood sweat and tears into this.
I’m hoping that when the free version is released in July, I can get a much better feel of what’s possible with this title. I can definitely see the potential, even if the demo felt a bit stunted.
The story also may seem a little predictable, but it’s still reasonably compelling. You will want to know if your assumptions turn out to be correct. However, that’s going to mean exploring the world and collecting as many fragmented memories as you can.
Although I didn’t instantly adore this game in the same way I fell in love with titles like Portal or Limbo, there’s something to it.
I’m intrigued to see what the developers have done with the rest of the story, and excited by the prospect of new puzzles.
Plus, it’s worth noting that the full game isn’t just going to be available on Steam. Although you can play on PC first, there’s a full version planned for consoles too. You can potentially grab a copy for your Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch in Winter.
I’d definitely advise checking out the developer’s Facebook page if you’re keen to learn more.