The Forgotten City – Cloud Version Review (Switch eShop)
Note: There are minor early game spoilers throughout this review, so if you want to go totally blind, skip to the conclusion.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room before we start. At this point in the year, the “Cloud Version” suffix is nothing new – and neither are the reviews. The Forgotten City is a really brilliant little time-looping storytelling game, but there will still be the same great conditions: you need a solid internet connection to play this, and although it costs the same as the version PC, there is no guarantee how long you will have access to it before the servers shut down.
Even with a good internet connection, The Forgotten City has a few “transparent” loading screens that freeze the action and momentum for a few seconds, and the most annoying, if you let the game run for three minutes (for example, to go to the bathroom or have a drink), it will take you back to the start screen without saving. You’ll never lose too much progress, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
However, with the usual Cloud version caveats, we can now get to the heart of this review: The Forgotten City is Absolutely it’s worth it, especially if you’re a fan of time-looping games like The Sexy Brutale and Outer Wilds, intricate storytelling, and / or ancient history.
The Forgotten City has them all, you see. You, a modern person (you can choose your name and your “body type”, that is, your gender as expressed by your hands and pronouns) are teleported to AD 65, in a small Roman town which is under some sort of curse.
If a person breaks the “golden rule”, everyone in the city will instantly be transformed into a golden statue – a fact confirmed by the golden statues scattered throughout the houses and streets, and the warnings that they had time to carve before transforming. The locals don’t know exactly what “The Golden Rule” is, so they live in fear, hedge their bets and try not to commit any sins. But it’s only a matter of time before someone breaks it, accidentally or not.
And guess what? It’s a video game, so it’s YOUR problem to solve. A quick meeting with the Magistrate, who is actually the Mayor of this town of 20 inhabitants, tells you everything you need to know to get started: Someone is about to break the Golden Rule. You have to find out who and stop them.
So the story begins, but the twists and turns don’t end there. You probably won’t be too surprised to know that everyone in town has secrets bubbling up beneath their friendly exterior, and like all time loop games, there are plenty of domino effects you can make and some mysteries. major to resolve.
Where The Forgotten City sets itself apart from other time loop games is in its well-judged size. Twelve Minutes was too small and too repetitive, turning the mechanics of the time loop into a chore; Outer Wilds is brilliant but at times overwhelming with its world the size of a solar system. It is difficult to give a time loop game the right extent and distinguish between exhausting and restricted game.
The Forgotten City, on the other hand, has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, but it’s limited to a single small town with just 20 residents, and it has exactly the right amount of stuff to do, plus a neat system for repeating your previous successes without having to repeat them exactly. It doesn’t go past its welcome, as you’ll be able to complete the game in about eight loops (maybe a little more, if you’re a completion), which is just the right amount that you never feel too familiar with the territory. retroceded. It’s a 6 to 8 hour game, which makes it perfect for playing a few evenings or a weekend.
The other thing that The Forgotten City does a little differently is graft onto someone else’s game. He started life as a Skyrim mod, making history as the first mod to win a Writers’ Guild Award for his script – and it’s not hard to see why. It’s remarkably well written, with a cast of voice actors doing a hell of a job bringing the characters to life, with lots of personality and a range of accents to represent their different backgrounds. (Also, be aware that there are some pretty scary times, if you’re sensitive to fears of jumping – only a few, but enough to make you anxious.)
But, uh, you’ve played Skyrim, haven’t you? Let’s just say it’s … adorably janky, to the point where it’s spawned plenty of memey recreations where people have loud conversations with themselves while walking and randomly accuse you of crimes because you accidentally picked up a carrot.
Good news: The Forgotten City retains much of that charming jank, albeit to a lesser and more bearable extent. Facial animations are subtle and expressive at times, but just a pinch closer to “meat puppet” than to “human mouth and eyes”. Sometimes a character will say something weird for no reason or stare at you for a long awkward moment before starting their dialogue. And yes, you can climb hills with a lot of jumping. But that doesn’t matter – if anything, it makes the game so much better, because it almost feels like playing Skyrim for the first time.
And hey, the story gets more than a little wacky in places (including some amazing moments of self-aware humor), and you’ll have moments of extreme exposure dump, but that’s all part of what makes it completely, absolutely wonderful to play. There are plenty of reasons why this game went from a Skyrim mod to a full-fledged version, and we really think you should check them out for yourself.
And this cloud version delivers the experience admirably, albeit with the aforementioned issues that arise with any ‘Cloud Version’ Switch game. It’s pretty, but it will look nicer on PC; it works fine over a stable internet connection, but it’s really nice not to have to worry about something you can’t control. And we have to admit that there is something uncomfortable about knowing that you paid twenty or thirty dollars for a game that might just be unplayable in who-knows-how much years.
If you don’t mind the warnings, the Forgotten City is so, so good.
The Forgotten City is a brilliant narrative work that resembles a time capsule of Skyrim’s jank, revitalized with a gripping story that is only long enough that he never loses momentum. It is, as always, difficult to fully recommend a cloud version of a game available elsewhere in a more concrete form, but if you accept the “risks” associated with it, this is a well presented and brilliant time loop game. and well worth a play.