We got to do a hands on preview for The Forest Cathedral at PAX West 2022. What do you do when you dislike a game? Do you delete it or return it? Do you give it a second chance? What do you do when it is a game that others have sung its praises but you can’t seem to find anything to like about it?
Do you power through it and try to see why they enjoyed it? At PAX West 2022, I had just that kind of experience. Before PAX West, I was recommended to play The Forest Cathedral by a friend of ours. After that recommendation, I need to reevaluate our friendship.
So why did I hate it? Rather than saying the site as a whole hated it, I will say directly that I hated it; maybe another of our staff members will love The Forest Cathedral, but the game ultimately wasn’t for me. Let’s give you the game’s description from Steam before diving into my thoughts.
The Forest Cathedral’s Description
The Forest Cathedral is a first-person psychological thriller set on a remote island. Playing as scientist Rachel Carson, players will slowly uncover the effects of DDT by using advanced environmental technology to solve 2D/3D connected puzzles in this dramatic reimagining of Silent Spring.
The game tells the reimagined story of the attempted silence of Rachel Carson leading up to her discoveries on the harmful pesticide known as DDT. Slowly uncover the effects of DDT in this dramatic reimagining of the story of Rachel Carson.
As someone who enjoys hiking and nature, Rachel Carson is a renowned name. The idea of playing a game around her story intrigued me. Upon arriving at the long booth, I was greeted by WhiteThorn Games staff.
They asked if I wanted to start with Calico Pawsome Edition. With Calico previously being available on Xbox through Games with Gold, I declined. Instead, I went to The Forest Cathedral.
Outside of introducing us to the game, the staff at the booth were relatively unattentive. On two occasions, I actively sought help regarding the game. The first attempt was walking up to them to ask a question, they gave us a brief answer and said that they would be over.
With their answer, I was able to progress slightly; however, when I got stuck again, they were unwilling to come over to answer my questions or follow up as they previously stated they would.
So why did I hate it? The Forest Cathedral is a game of multiple art styles. The game’s art style will change depending on the interaction. While some may call this creative, instead, it feels almost as if multiple people were trying to make a game or a single artist was trying to experiment with different art styles. This detracted from the overall experience.
Additionally, the gameplay elements felt drastically different. On one hand, you have a character trying to explain what is going on in the ecosystem. Then on the other, you have a platforming mini-game in a completely different art style dictating whether or not you can turn on the power.
Once you’ve finally turned on the power, you have to interact with a “TV?” which offers a different art style. The game feels all over the place.
With no staff direction beyond my first question and annoying jumping puzzles and art shifts, I had enough. I can honestly say, I am not looking forward to this game.
If it comes out in 2022, it is too soon and I hope to never hear of it again. If you want to check out the game, do so at your own risk, otherwise, avoid it like it is Superman 64 or ET.