Game Review: ‘The Forest Cathedral’
The name Rachel Carson probably means nothing to you, what about Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane? Well in Whitethorn Games’ The Forest Cathedral players will learn them. The Forest Cathedral is a fictitious telling of real-life marine biologist Rachel Carson and her research into the harmful effects of the bug pesticide DDT was having on the environment. I would like to thank Whitethorn Games for the reviewing opportunity!
Onto the game itself! When it comes to the controls, The Forest Cathedral‘s controls are limited so there are not a lot of buttons to worry about, most of the game’s action seems to come from the “Little Man” mechanic (a platforming computer game within the game that acts as a terminal to operate machines).
The visuals for the game are stunning and beautiful for the most part, you have to keep an eye out for some unnerving things happening in the background. When it comes to the sound, the voice acting is good, but the music mixing for when there are “horror” elements could really use some work as it sounds like horror music/ambiance plays over what song is already playing, just sounding like a bunch of distorted noise, R.I.P. Headphone users…
When it comes to gameplay, it’s a mix of a walking simulator and platforming by way of using terminals that allow you access to the “Little Man” who is your digital companion. The game’s formula seems to be that you walk to or from a location and then access a terminal to play some platforming in order to continue with the story, along with using a device called the iRGB which is a scanner that allows you to see things you can’t with the naked eye.
Overall, The Forest Cathedral felt like a film student’s fever dream. I had a bit of a hard time keeping up with the story as it seemed to jump around a lot. Clearly, the game is trying to give a message and expose the works of Rachel Carson, which is OK but I felt it should have been done with more respect to her as after playing the game and reading up on Carson, it seemed like the Rachel Carson in the game, I hate to say, came across as ditzy, while the real-life Rachel Carson was an accompished scientist and talented writer.
On my scale of 1-10, with decent visuals, voice acting, and control layout being the positive things about the game while some of the platforming was tedious, the unhinged storytelling, and problems with the music, The Forest Cathedral is a 5/10.
The Forest Cathedral is out now on PC and Xbox.