"Fran Bow": Game Review
Fran Bow is a 10-year-old girl suffering from a mental disorder and admitted to an asylum. You might be thinking to yourself 'this sounds awful the poor girl'. Which, yes it does sound awful, but there is a lot more to it than just locking up a child. She went through a traumatizing experience, finding her parents dead, and she only has one friend, a black cat named Mr. Midnight.
This game is a point-and-click psychological, adventure horror. Fran Bow is full of creepy images, a wide assortment of characters and a fantastic story that keeps you pulled in until the end.
Parallel World and Characters
After Fran is admitted, her doctor begins to give her a strange medicine that causes vivid hallucinations of a parallel world. This other world in mainly inhabited by shadowy figures and strange creatures. Humans should not be able to know about the existence of the other realms, let alone enter them.
After Fran escapes the asylum, she is able to pass between the worlds with help from the medicine. Her main goal is to find her cat and get home to her aunt, meeting a wide variety of characters along the way.
- Itward: A tall skeleton that assists Fran. He appears in random spots during the beginning of the game.
- Palontras: A colorful, flying creature that acts as the doctor for Ithersta.
- Remor: The main antagonist of the game. He is a large, monstrous, shadow-like figure that pursues Fran.
- Mabuka: Also known as Mother Mabuka, she is the widely feared ruler of the Fifth Realm. She is a being of darkness, representing and subsisting on anguish and despair.
- Valokas: Creatures of pure light that are born in the First Reality. They embody the human concept of virtue.
- Kamala's: Shadow creatures that feed on the fear and sadness of humans. Each child in the asylum seems to have one near them.
Five Realms of Essential Existence
There are five realms that make up the world of Fran Bow, and were created simultaneously with the concept of time
- First Reality: The realm of light, ruled by its king, The Great Valokas.
- Second Reality: Also known as Ithersta, the reality of life. Time is transient here, as the current season is determined by a magical clock. The island is mainly populated by roots and insects that travel in flying boats.
- Third Reality: The human world–Earth, Mars and Jupiter—based on consciousness and willpower.
- Fourth Reality: Not much is known about this realm, that of death. Itward was born there.
- Fifth Reality: The realm of darkness, ruled by Mother Mabuka and her son Remor. This realm looks very odd to humans, as some rules of logic do not apply here.
There is also a realm called Ultra Reality. It was never confirmed if this was a different reality or just hallucinations in the game.
Art Style and Thoughts
Throughout the game, the art style tends to change. It mainly depends on what is happening. The atmosphere at times matches the art, giving an even more creepy feel to the game. At one point, the art almost looks like it's made out of paper. During some story parts, it's just black and white with the only color being red.
Like I said in the beginning, this game gives an interesting look at childhood mental illness. Fran Bow shows how this young girl only has one real friend, a cat, and her other friends are in another world, or don't even exist. This seems to be how she deals with her trauma.
Eventually, she slowly comes to terms with the death of her parents and the killer may be closer to her than she originally thought.