The Forest Quartet
The Forest Quartet is an emotional puzzle adventure about a spirit helping the ones she left behind deal with their depression, anxiety and anger in the aftermath of her passing away. It’s a short and touching story about grief and finding the motivation to keep going after suffering a big loss.
You play as Nina, the lead singer of a jazz band called The Forest Quartet, who passed away due to an unknown illness. As a ghost, you wake up in a dark and mysterious forest which appears to be an astral projection of the place dearest to the member’s hearts, the place that inspired all their creations, the place that they call “home”. Floating through bizarre shapes that seem to have their own unique heartbeat, vibrating as you pass by, you encounter various broken mechanisms. Using your abilities to float objects, you will reassemble them and then power them up using your voice. Soon enough you will discover that these puzzles have a symbolic link to the broken hearts of the fellow members and by fixing them you will implicitly help them overcome their grief.
The game is structured into 3 short chapters, each of them having unique mechanics. Despite the fact that the puzzles have an abstract nature reminiscent of Amanita games, they’re overall quite intuitive and fairly easy to solve. They usually revolve around finding missing components in the immediate proximity of the puzzle area and putting all the elements of a machinery together, activating light pillars in a certain order based on visual clues, or shape-shifting into a swarm of butterflies in order to go through pipes and access certain valves or levers.
The Forest Quartet has not only stunning visuals, but also a remarkable sound design. The elements you interact with produce peculiar sounds, and as you float through the forest you can hear how the entire forest resonates with your moves. I’ve never been a fan of jazz music but the soundtrack and the ending sequence really touched my heart in a way in which few music scores manage to do, especially not tracks belonging to genres I’m not keen on.
Despite being short (it took me a bit over 1h to finish the game), The Forest Quartet is a memorable experience. It’s simple but beautiful, heavily symbolic and touching.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a press preview copy of the game, kindly provided by Bedtime Digital Games via The Indie Game Collective.