Emotional games disguised as puzzle adventures seem to be all the rage these days. Ever Forward jumps on this trend, telling us the story of Maya and her mother in-between puzzle solving. It’s a section of gaming that’s becoming more congested and difficult to find the real stand outs. Just look at how many other puzzle games I’ve reviewed during my time with PSLS.
Ever Forward Review – Ring Around the Roundy-Bot
We meet Maya walking along the shoreline. Hovering nearby is a “companion cube” of sorts. This area is lush, colourful, and gorgeous. White sands and tree roots meet vibrant greenery and looming in the background is a stunning maple tree. And littered throughout the landscape are shattered rooms. Glowing red roots beckon Maya toward the rooms, and when she approaches them her world shifts. The puzzle levels are dismal shades of grey. Only pops of red from the trees and soft glowing guidelines provide contrast.
Maya’s objective is simple: find a way to safely bring a cube to the end of each puzzle where it will float from her tiny hands and drop into the slot. There are obstacles. The roundy-bots are alerted to any noise within earshot. Distracting roundy-bots can help you sneak around them. Tossing cubes is a great way to get them closer to the target while drawing the bot’s attention. Other instances might require Maya to create noise and hopefully get out of the way before the lasers find her.
As Maya travels deeper into the world and her memories, the puzzles ramp up. Moving platforms, weight systems, and teleport pads are gradually introduced. With all of these new elements, figuring out puzzles will mean trial and error. If you’ve made it through a rough spot you can save that progress with a checkpoint marker. Just don’t log out of the game with a puzzle unsolved unless you really need to. Those checkpoints go away when you close the game.
After each puzzle room is cleared, we get a snippet of Maya’s memory played out for us. Both Maya and her mother Ann are shown in shimmering silhouettes. These scenes give us a glimpse into a futuristic world of some sort. Maya takes after her scientist mother; one scene shows her tinkering with a bot at her desk, in another she is able to hack into their home’s security system. Some of the story elements are a bit farfetched but hey, if it tugs at the heartstrings…
Ever Forward Review – Tune Up Required
Unfortunately, the PS5 version of Ever Forward is in need of some touch ups. I’ve encountered far too many graphics issues while exploring the overworld as Maya. As pictured below, assets are not loading correctly, making assets stretch across the screen and ruin the gorgeous landscapes. Inside the puzzles I’ve only seen something similar happen once; that time about a quarter of the top of my screen was a bar of sky blue and obscured my view. Changing the camera angle did fix that one but if I moved it again it would re-appear.
I also noticed that using the teleporting pads can be a problem. Again, it’s all about the camera angles. If it isn’t “just right” pushing Square to interact doesn’t work because the prompt isn’t showing. This makes doing some of the later puzzles difficult to frustrating. Distracting the roundy-bots only lasts for so long. This means that if you are alerting them in a particular direction to use the teleporters to get around them you have to be very quick. There’s no time to waste trying to get the camera to show the button prompt.
Ever Forward could be a great addition to your PS5 (or PS4) library if Pathea Games is able to swiftly correct the performance issues. If not, I would suggest picking it up for PC instead. There is a lot of promise here and I really want to finish out Maya and Ann’s tale. Preferably sooner than later.
Ever Forward review code provided by publisher. Version 1.000 reviewed on PlayStation 5. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.