After seeing this interesting-looking game on Indie Games, I thought I’d give it a shot. The colorful, 80s-arcade graphics, minimal controls, and randomly generated gameplay suggested a retro-themed good time. And I wasn’t disappointed — it’s a lo-fi retro delight.
Forget-Me-Not is a bit like Pac-Man in that you are, as you can see, traveling through a maze (new every time), trying to collect all the flowers, find the key, then get to the door out. Enemies of various types (I haven’t encountered them all yet) spawn and wander the maze, occasionally attacking you or each other. You get more points for collecting flowers in a row without missing one, which produces a pleasant rising blip noise. You’re always firing straight ahead, and you can shoot yourself if they go through one of the screen wrap tunnels. The gameplay starts tame, but gets frantic quickly, as multiple enemy types are shooting, biting, and exploding each other all over the map.
The only controls are swiping in the direction you want to go (or grind, a skill I haven’t mastered that lets you run down enemies); there’s no onscreen joystick, you can touch anywhere. It’s a bit weird at first, but once you get a feel for how far you have to swipe, they’re perfectly serviceable. There’s a simultaneous two-player mode that gets complicated real fast, but is a great way to waste 10 or 15 minutes with a friend.
The fun comes from the old-school aesthetic and ramping difficulty. Easy to learn, impossible to beat, just like the best arcade games of the period: Robotron 2084, Joust, Tempest. The simplicity of the controls makes the gameplay surprisingly cerebral, as you strategize against the dangerous shooting enemies, plan out the key-carrying route so it doesn’t get nicked by a monster, and that sort of thing. Meanwhile, the graphics are clear, colorful, and smooth. I liked the attract-mode style instruction screens:
The sound is also absolutely wonderful. The “blip blip blip” that accompanies your movement, the “tink-tink” of your shots against the key, the level end noise, all are classic arcade fare of the squarest wave. Listen and check out the gameplay here:
I did not get to test this out on an iPhone; it looks great on the iPad but I can see how some of the graphical details might be more difficult to discern on an iPhone screen. I’d advise caution in iPhone users’ case, unless you’re really struck by the game.
I’ve had a great time playing this game, and anyone who enjoys the arcade classics, or is maybe just looking for something different from the usual casual fare, will probably find it worth the two bucks.
The game will also be coming out on PC and Mac some time in the next two weeks.