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Forest Grove Review (PS5) – A Short And Predictable Mystery

Forest Grove PS5 Review – I love myself a mystery to solve. Whether it is a missing person or a murder, it always catches my interest in the gaming space. I was looking forward to trying out Forest Grove for this mystery set where you must solve the disappearance of a young hair from her home. Unfortunately, that mystery is short-lived and honestly entirely predictable.

Forest Grove PS5 Review

A Mystery Not As Compelling As It Wants You To Believe

Zooey Kunstmatigaard has gone missing from her home in Forest Grove. Working for the Remote Forensic Bureau, you’re able to reconstruct the entire residence of Zooey’s and explore the crime scene remotely to try and find out what happened to her. This technology allows you to interact with objects in the environment and collect samples like DNA.

You can also reconstruct events in the house, but the game doesn’t explain how this technology can capture these moments.

I wanted to enjoy the story as it unfolds through the evidence you find and the holographic images you acquire. Still, unfortunately, the mystery of Zooey’s disappearance is revealed, at least through my deduction in the first few pieces of digital recreations and the email messages I found.

Though I guessed what had happened to Zooey fairly early, proving my theory is another story. As you explore the mansion, you’ll find various pieces of evidence, from blood samples to knives with supposed evidence. Not everything will be essential or even point to Zooey’s disappearance, but that will be for you to decide when you make your final accusation.

Not All Evidence Points To The Correct Conclusion

As you collect evidence, you’ll make connections to various suspects that may be involved. Did the housekeeper do something to Zooey? Did her boyfriend do something to her? Or did she run away?

You’ll find evidence that can incriminate everyone, and the game will even link evidence for you based on the samples you collect from said evidence. Hence, you know who interacted with specific objects to see how they link and if they could be used as evidence in your theory/accusation.

There are also puzzles to solve, some less obvious than you think. There are safes to find codes for and secret rooms to unlock. These puzzles weren’t challenging for the most part, but they did require that you keep notes and follow notes left around the manor that the game doesn’t allow you to interact with but are readable enough if you zoom in on them.

I enjoyed these puzzles and wish there were more of them, but for the majority of the game, it holds your hand throughout the process.

Passable Presentation

Visually, the game isn’t anything to write home about. It’s passable at best, and the character portraits and images from the digital recreations look like they were pulled from the internet. It’s one of those web browser games where everyone can access the assets. Most of which are used for pornographic adult games.

The voice acting is also passable. There is plenty of voice action, but not everyone does a great job. It’s nice to have for a small indy title and adds some life to the otherwise quiet house that doesn’t even provide an ambient musical score as you explore the mansion.

The most challenging part of the game is taking all the evidence you’ve collected and combining the key pieces to make your accusation or theory liable. The game doesn’t do an excellent job of explaining how to accomplish this outside of providing you with five slots to select five pieces of evidence. Once I figured it out, I was able to nail my theory on my first try and felt pretty good about it.

Forest Grove could have been a great indie mystery game, but it suffers from too much handholding and is a predictable case to solve. What’s worse is that it can be beaten in about an hour and a half. Its visuals and voice work are passable, but using what looks like free web-based character art hurts.

Forest Grove is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

Review code kindly provided by PR



The Final Word

Forest Grove has a good concept but doesn't take advantage of its unique aspects. The future setting is just a gimmick to see how scenes play out. Though I enjoyed looking for the evidence and making the connections to find out what happened to Zooey, the game constantly held my hand but let it go right at the end when I needed its help the most. It's short, it's simple, and it's predictable.