[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s hardly a secret that I’m a fan of horror games. I’m not talking about those gore fests where you’re constantly up against a raving horde of undead or anything like that (although I won’t deny that they can be fun at times). Nope, I’m talking about the more cerebral end of the spectrum. Supernatural and psychological tales have always fascinated me for some reason and I gobble them up like they were candy. Deliciously morbid candy. And Killmonday’s Fran Bow falls squarely in that category. Which is why I couldn’t wait to get my bloody mitts on the game.Fran BowIn Fran Bow you play as the titular character as she witnesses the brutal murder of her loving parents. She runs out of the house in a delirious panic and is picked up by the workers of an insane asylum. Sounds like the start to a great game filled with rainbows and unicorns, huh? Actually, there is a part in the game that does surprisingly have a beautiful landscape and colorful characters. But, aside from the “Second World” it’s all darkness and sanity shattering nightmares. In short, don’t play this game unless you’re prepared to take a plunge into a dark rabbit hole.Fran BowHere’s what I love about Fran Bow. It’s a game that makes you think. Throughout the game you’re bombarded with lies, half truths, and strange revelations that constantly have you asking yourself if what you’re seeing is real or based purely on your deranged imagination. And the red pills that the doctor gave you to help treat your psychoses. Which act as a sort of bridge between layers of reality.Fran BowApparently there are five main layers of the universe, each one delving deeper into darkness than the previous. In a way, think of the first world as a sort of heaven and the fifth world as a hell plucked straight out of Dante’s own mind. With our reality nestled smack dab in the middle as a “Third World”. These truths, if you can consider anything your senses tell you during Fran’s journey as true, are slowly spelled out for you as you continue to work your way to finding your beloved black cat Mr. Midnight and trekking your way back home to reunite with your loving aunt.Fran BowBut, as with any good horror tale things aren’t always what they appear. Several times during my play through Fran Bow I’ve had to stop to think if I took the red pill or not because these overlapping realities barely make sense through either filter. And there are parts where you don’t even have access to these reality warping drugs. By the time that the credits rolled I still had lots of questions left unanswered. Which has me hoping for a sequel. If for nothing else to see how dear Fran and her friends have fared after dealing with the bastard Remor.Fran BowThe most impressive thing about Fran Bow would have to be that it was made purely by two people. The game itself is a beautiful but haunting tale of a girl and her cat, a twisted take on the Alice in Wonderland tale, that had me on the edge of my seat from the moment that I pressed the play button. And it was done by such a small team. My tophat’s off to Natalia and Isak for crafting such a great experience.

About the Author

Serena Nelson

Serena has been a gamer since an early age and was brought up with the classic adventure games by Sierra On-Line, LucasArts, and Infocom. She's been an active member on Kickstarter since early 2012 and has backed a large number of crowdfunded games, mostly adventures. You can also find her writing for Kickstart Ventures and evn.moe.

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