Praise the inky gods and the cosmic lords of the unknown! The revival of “Boomer Shooters” continues with some great games coming out. Now we get a Cosmetic horror-themed shooter, which feels like a bloody, inky combination of DOOM and Cthulhu. Forgive Me Father has appeared from the vast reaches of the unknown (or otherwise known as Early Access) and is finally out in all its entirety. Is it worth the wait?What is Forgive Me Father?
Forgive Me Father is a darkly retro throwback to early/mid 90’s shooters. With 2D visuals that represent a bleak 1930’s newspaper comic, along with dark themes, cosmetic horror, and plenty of gore and action to feast into.
Inspired by the likes of DOOM and BLOOD, Forgive Me Father takes players on a cosmetic horror journey where they will have to battle the forces of the unknown, including possessed humans, giant monsters with grabby tentacles, and all manner of twisted horror, it’ll leave your nightmares screaming for help.
Taking place in the 1930s, you take on the role of either a lonely drunken priest or a fiery reporter who finds themselves in an epidemic of biblical proportions. The dead have risen, and strange creatures ranging from distorted humanoid beings to otherworldly spirits, and gigantic creatures with hundreds of tentacles have brought about the end of days. Players will have to blast their way through the hordes of necromantic beasts and ghouls to discover the cause of the horrors that plague the Earth.
The mystery at hand offers a weirdly appealing mixture of cosmetic, gothic, and Lovecraftian horror, all within a neat DOOM-inspired 2D shooter, with comic book visuals. Grab the boomstick and blast apart otherworldly cosmetic horrors. A deeply dark tale of fish people, cults, and the unknown!
Forgive Me Father has a classic setup of either of our heroes being asked to help a cousin who fears their life is in mortal danger. Brought to the city of Pestisville, you soon discover that everything is wrong as the undead walk the streets and strange occultists have brought about even stranger creatures, hellbent on devastating the world. Yet the worse is yet to come, and the deeper our heroes venture through the city, the outskirts, and underground, will they discover all manner of unmanageable horrors.
Playing as either the devout Priest or a fiery reporter, players will venture through city streets filled with undead, seaside factories covered in gross bloody fungi, glooming and haunting forests, ancient underground temples, and much more, finding out in fragments of information what is going on.
The general thematic elements are pure Lovecraft, with demonic cults, undead, strange fish-hybrid creatures, and tons of unknowable horrors which have emerged from the depths of the Earth.
For the most part, Forgive Me Father takes the classic Resident Evil approach to storytelling and puts most of the information into scattered notes, diary entries, and newspaper clippings to give a bigger impression of the story. These story fillers are optional and very clearly labeled if you fancy learning more about what is happening. Every bit of lore is presented beautifully, with much of it giving massive depth to the horrifying situation at hand.
Now with the official launch, there are cutscenes included to give you a greater understanding of events as they unfold, and all these cutscenes are beautifully made. Taking on the guise of noir-inspired dioramas, these visual displays for the story have great lighting and great camera work to make them feel dynamic and otherworldly, matching and perfecting the tone for the rest of the game. Yes, something can be beautiful and gross to look at!
Forgive Me Father is a genuinely, visually striking game and one that really sets itself from the rest. While other throwback games do look good and match the style of the eta, Forgive Me Father pushes for something a little different and comes off better for it.
The inky, comic book style, with heavy lines and bright colours makes the world stand out immensely. The environments are beautifully detailed, creative, and pleasing to feast your eyes on.
Creature designs are also darn good, with even the basic zombies looking absolutely sickening. Their decaying flesh, gloomy eyes, and broken limbs are all wonderfully drawn. But other creatures stand out as well, looking wholeheartedly God-forsaken and otherworldly.
The only gripes I have are some odd animations, such as doors disappearing when you open them and some enemies looking a little basic with animations. I do feel the lack of animation or limited frames helps with an otherworldly and creepy vibe when moving. But when it comes to registering attacks, some enemies have a very quick windup and give little reaction time. So, hopefully, there is a balance there somewhere. Gameplay featuring Boomsticks and madness
Forgive Me Father is a straight-up “Boomer Shooter” through and through. Following in the footsteps of Duke Nukem and DOOM, while being mechanically solid and a lot of fun to play. It has a few neat tricks up its selves to broaden its appeal.
Players will venture through level by level, attempting to reach the exit in one piece. Along the way, you’ll be blasting hordes of enemies, solving simple puzzles, collecting keys, and partaking in the odd set piece or two. Level design has a good variety ranging from complex labyrinths where key hunting, platforming, and tight spaces filled with enemies are the norms, to more open areas where strife-shooting is paramount to dispensing of the hordes. There’s usually a good flow to each level, with the claustrophobic settings being a blessing and a curse as you can easily blast groups of enemies, but they can just as easily swarm you. And there are many instances when a single moment in a fight can mean either life or death.
While most levels focus on tightly woven paths, interchanging and having players find keys to progress, there are the occasional open areas which again takes some maze-like elements to the overall design. These aren’t the most interesting and often just feel like you can rush forward without much engagement or exciting events occurring. I would also say that the key hunting aspect is a little tedious after so many levels too. I know this is a staple of Boomer Shooters, but just simply implementing it without any neat dynamics does indeed lead to the charm being lost after a few hours. If there were some more noteworthy objectives in play or more puzzles that elevated the action and combined lateral elements, then I would be more forgiving. And maybe because I’m old and played so many old-school games with this key hunting mechanic, it’s just completely stale now.
The developers, however, have managed to work in plenty of cool set pieces, including multiple ambush moments which really push the panic levels, along with some epic boss battles and a couple of chase sequences too. So overall, there is enough variety in the level design, set pieces, and a good selection of weapons and enemies, everything flows nicely from start to finish and feels fresh throughout the campaign.
The real driving force in Forgive Me Father is the brutal gunplay and brilliant variety of monsters to mangle.
Players will have a fine selection of weapons, many of the staples of the Boomer Shooter, including pistols, machine guns, and of course the trusty Shotgun. There are also some more tactical weapons such as the Harpoon gun, giving you plenty of choice for the mayhem ahead. There are a couple of tricks up the sleeves of Forgive Me Father that pushes the gunplay and player progression further than most other retro-inspired shooters. Spicing things up with the Cosmos
While there are plenty of weapons in Forgive Me Father, there is something here that elevates the impact of your weapons. Incorporated is a Skill Tree unlike no other, as players venture through the campaign, they will level up and gather experience points to be used on the Skill Tree. What this Skill Tree contains is a host of vital skills allowing more health, faster movement, more ammo being held, and so forth. But there are also several interesting choices that allow players to fully upgrade their weapons with powerful attachments or infuse the power of the cosmos, allowing for creatively devastating effects.
So, you could equip yourself with some handy throwing knifes with great range but low damage, or have a fleshy sentient knife that deals more damage but is pretty slow to use. Or how about a hardened Tommy Gun that fires faster and harder, but has insane recoil, or completely transforms it into a gun that shoots electricity, blasting everything in your path but consumes a lot of ammo in a short period of time. Plenty of difficult decision-making that has plenty of risks and rewards.
This is exceptional for a few reasons, as its strengths are the core gunplay, expanding on the dynamic tactical elements, visual presentation, and allowing a greater sense of choice for replayability purposes. The level of depth for customisation is immense when you can decide to completely change a weapon and its effectiveness in the world. Focusing on either the darker occult or more hardened mechanical elements for your combat stance, opens a wide range of tactical advantages and disadvantages, making each fight compelling and unique through each playthrough.
There is another aspect to player progression and that is Madness, which is a staple of Lovecraftian horror and works well thematically and has some neat moments in gameplay.
While taking on enemies, players will gather Madness and this is pretty much fuel to using special abilities. Both the Priest and Reporter will get new special abilities throughout the campaign that allow them to regain health, deal more damage, be shielded for a small amount of time, and have other spectacular moments of action. With enough Madness you can use these powers and … that’s really about it. It's Maddening I tell you!
I feel the madness aspect is a massive, missed step here as other Cthulhu, Cosmos-inspired games always incorporate the element of madness and do so dynamically, where madness has an impact on your progression, status, and story elements. Here, Forgive Me Father puts it here as a currency for using special powers, but it could have been more compelling.
I understand the shooting is the core of the game, and the horror aspects are truly good in presentation and theme, but the madness could have been used even as window dressing as a bare minimum. Maybe gathering or holding on to too much Madness might make you see things, even to have the profile style pic of your character do some weird s***, or have the screen leak ink, or even have Cthulhu appear in a random jump scare. These are basic ideas but there is more room for Madness to play an interesting part in the core gameplay.
But I feel the developers may have played it safe with the notion of Madness, due to the insane level of difficulty in the late game. The preview’s level of challenge is nothing in comparison to the late game, and the last few levels are brutal. This is mainly due to enemy count and placement, but also the lack of ammo too.
It feels as though the developers saw DOOM Eternal and wanted to replicate that, without adding in some of the core features that give players breathing space in the hottest of combat situations. There is also the factor of saving/checkpoints which is all done manually. So expect to retry certain segments of various levels over and over as saving is limited.
Thankfully, there is enough ammo and first aid if you’re resourceful enough, and the special powers do massively come in handy later in the game. Plus, the late game-level design, set pieces, and bosses are truly epic.Overall?
Forgive Me Father is a fine Boomer Shooter, with plenty of gore, guts, guns, and Cosmos themes to keep you fully engaged and entertained from start to finish. The beautiful art style, intense and impactful gunplay, dynamic player progression and insane set pieces, and boss battles really do make this one of the best indie FPSs on the market right now. Aside from the insane difficulty spikes, and lack of unique dynamics when it comes to Madness, Forgive Me Father is really an immense, retro-inspired horror experience you simply can’t miss.
++ Intense, brutal, and fun gunplay action
++ Awesome visual style and horror themes
+ Great depth to customisation and interesting Skill Tree
- Some insane difficulty spikes
- Key hunting is a little tedious nowadays
A Steam review key of Forgive Me Father was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this reivew.