LifeisXbox’s Forgotten Hill Disillusion review | I don’t get to play many point-and-click games these days. Most of my time is spent playing games from different genres such as FPS, driving sims, and action-adventure games. Frequent readers will know that Horror though is very dear to my heart and when I saw Forgotten Hill, I was eager to try it out. Forgotten Hill looked to be very similar to some of my earlier favourites like Thimbleweed Park, the Monkey Island series, and even Grim Fandango. Developed and Published by FM Studio, Forgotten Hill Disillusion takes you on a roller coaster ride of mind-bending puzzles set within a library in which you can’t leave. The people inside clearly harbour dark secrets and mean you harm. Armed with your father’s old pocket watch you must uncover the secret of the Forgotten Hill Library and escape with your life.
Most Memorable Moment
Getting the camera for the first time and seeing what it had to offer and how it helped me with puzzle navigation was a huge sigh of relief. It’s a really unique way of implementing a gameplay hook and also offering a surprise to the player. Viewing the world from another perspective was a key point in realising that I was playing something very different from the usual point-and-click games out there. A well-implemented game mechanic!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Puzzles | Forgotten Hill has some of the most mind-bending puzzles I have ever come across in a game. That isn’t a bad thing though. The puzzles are extremely well thought out & fit not only within the context of the game but within the story as well. I mentioned in my intro you are armed with a pocket watch left to you by your late father. More on that later. For now, though, the main puzzles allow you to uncover keys by solving sequences, book placements, and memory games found within each room. Usually, the outcome is being rewarded with a key so you open up other locked areas of the library and carry on. The whole thing feels extremely satisfying when you hear that successful click of a completed puzzle and allows you to move on to new areas.
- The Graphics | Forgotten Hill Disillusion is all hand-drawn 2D sprites set on a 2D plane. It’s the simple point-and-click template we have all known to come and enjoy over time. Yes, there are 3D point-and-click games but Forgotten Hill embraces the more traditional of designs and runs with it in a good way. Usually, this isn’t a great way to hide objects, as it is easier to hide secret items and other puzzle pieces in 3D environments but Forgotten Hill overcomes this with its first gameplay hook. The Camera.
- The Camera | The camera in-game acts as a bridge between worlds as it were. I mentioned in the intro that it borrows inspiration from Silent Hill. If you are familiar with Silent Hill, you will remember that there is the real world and the alt world. The camera when equipped allows you to see through the veils of the real world and show you things that are not there. You can then snap a helpful photo and review it for later. For example in one scene, I had to turn these coloured lights on. Even though I had the correct sequence the colours were technically wrong. Looking at the lights through the camera, the colours were inverted meaning I had to change the order in which I had placed them. Once done, the puzzle was complete and I could move on. It’s a great gameplay mechanic especially in something like a point and clicks where you don’t see too much innovation these days.
- The Music | The music takes me back to some of the works of Akira Yamaoka, the lead musician on Silent Hill. The music in-game is filled with a creepy ambience with some unsettling undertones. In the alt world, there are some serious stress-inducing tones, low droning sounds, and rarely do you get a moment’s peace. Despite not having a time limit on any of the puzzles you are always felt uneasy because of the music and I enjoyed that sense of dread every time I entered the alt world.
- The Boss Battles | Throughout the game there are what I would call 4 boss battles. Three of these take place via a chessboard game called The Devil’s Game. All you need to do here is protect your pawn from the incoming attackers. You get one turn in which you can either move or block the incoming attacker. The attacker must be left with no possible way to get to you to win. Attackers can move in any direction and move one space, but all their pieces move at the same time. These were not too difficult but you must survive 3 rounds before defeating them for good and being allowed to move on to the next section.The final boss is more traditional in its sense and allows you to access both of the endings based on your decision. Die and you stay trapped in the library forever. Kill them and you escape. Simple enough but the shooting mechanics are more of a timed event that requires some good controller skills. You will most likely die on your first attempt at this.
- Lost & Found | After completing the game you can gain access to the lost and found section of the game. This section isn’t mandatory but you are tasked with rescuing the children in the alt world. You can only take three items at a time, and they must be returned if you are to take others. Also, you can only take one key at a time. The task at hand is to save 20 children who are trapped throughout the museum. This section is a little more difficult in that the above limitations see you constantly backtracking. It’s a huge break in the usual pace with no reward at the end.
- The Difficulty | Whilst I am no stranger to puzzles, I do feel that most people picking up this game might find it frustrating at certain points. Some of the puzzles can be so light on clues that it becomes a miracle if you figure it out. Sometimes, I found myself overthinking a puzzle and spent ages on it only to have my 7-year-old son tell me to try this as that is what he would do and it worked! (Thanks Aiden). My point being here is that in most puzzle games I do play there has always been an option to tone down the difficulty. Not everyone is great with puzzles but since this game has a lot of horror appeal to it, I would suspect that most people who aren’t even into puzzle games would still be interested in picking this up.
- Overused Puzzles | In a few sections of the game there were a lot of reused ideas for puzzles which then allowed me to breeze through quickly. It’s not a major issue but it did take a bit of fun out of the game since the puzzle mechanic is the biggest part of the game. It’s a sign of maybe too many puzzles being used and instead of focusing more on in-game lore or story in certain areas, there was just an overuse of puzzles to draw out game length. I think £3.99 for a 4+ hour game is amazing value so there wasn’t a need to reuse the puzzles in my opinion.
What we Disliked
- Quick Resume Issues | On more than one occasion I had an issue where quick resume caused issues upon re-launching the game. The game would start but the cursor would disappear and I couldn’t move. Returning to the main menu did nothing. This was my first hour into the game and I had to restart from scratch just to get through it again. I did have the same issue again with the cursor disappearing but luckily on subsequent playthroughs after this initial issue, the cursor would return after going back to the main menu.
How long to beat the story | 4+ hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 5+ hours
Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.