A first look at Fran Bow by flotsam

Fran Bow

Killmonday Games

On a first look, what’s not to like (including the name of the company).

Fran Bow is a small girl, “suffering from a mental disorder and an unfair destiny”. Separated from her cat Mr Midnight as she rushed into the woods having found her parents dismembered, she now looks to escape from Oswald Asylum, find Mr Midnight, and make her way to Aunt Grace.

The artistic style grabbed me from the opening moments. The inky black and white intro gave way to a childlike something that reminded me of Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy in the characters and feel, albeit in colour. Indeed, Fran would likely be right at home in Tim’s worlds.

There is nothing childlike about anything else.

The stories of those in the asylum, or the few I have spoken with so far, can be dark and damaged. Then there are the pills, which, when you find them, enable you to flip between the “waking” world and the visionary and nightmarish drugged world (for want of a better description). By doing so I have been able to access and open areas in one that were locked to me in another, so it is clearly a key to the puzzle solving.

There is no spoken word, but the soundscape and everything else going on compensates admirably.

The game world presents in a series of single screens around which you point and click Fran. An eyeball floating left or right of screen means there is another part of the environment over that way. The inventory is a purse bottom left in which you can examine and combine items to assist Fran.

Oh, and then there is the demonic creature that seems intent on keeping Fran confined.

I haven’t gotten far, but so far it’s so very darkly good.