Forgive Me Father is a retro-inspired FPS shooter with a beautiful comic book art style set in a Lovecraftian setting. Developed by Byte Barrel and published by 1C Entertainment, it follows a priest looking for his cousin who’s recently disappeared. He comes across all manner of beasts and mutated humans, all out to kill him. Our man of the cloth takes one look at a zombie and says “Not today Cthulhu,” picks up a gun, and starts blasting.
Currently, the game is in early access with about four hours of content, give or take your experience with shooters. I admit I am not the best marksman but the Lovecraft spin brought me in. I stuck with the normal difficulty setting but experts might want to play on hard. With Doom clearly inspiring the combat, you’ll be strafing around at breakneck speeds while heavy guitars wail in the background, making it easy to get into the zone. There’s really nothing like the feeling of mowing down enemies in an FPS—you feel like a king and I lost track of time playing. Just one more attempt at this level. Okay, three more attempts. Thankfully loading screens are short so I never got frustrated during my many deaths, just more determined to try a different weapon against the next wave of ghouls.
Included is a standard upgrade system that allows you to buff up your weapons with branching paths, like more ammo space and rate of fire improvements. There’s a slimy tentacle upgrade for the shotgun that writhes around I quite enjoyed. Obviously, our hero has no qualms about using the enemy’s own strengths against them! I also chose to forgo extra damage, instead making the default knife into throwing knives so I could still deal some ranged hits even when I ran low on ammo. Alongside guns are several skills which are found as you progress, like a small heal with your trusty cross or temporary invincibility by reading from the Bible. These can also be upgraded. There are six weapons in the game and a total of four skills at the moment.
An interesting flip on the Lovecraft theme is that for once, madness is not a debuff—in fact, it’s needed to use your skills while it also increases damage dealt. In most horror games losing sanity will cause the player to freeze up or move slower or act like poison and continuously cause damage. I like to think the priest in Forgive Me Father is overcome with righteous fury during these moments, fully committed to eradicating the horrible monstrosities he encounters. Drinking alcohol scattered about will boost your madness. The damage boost is temporary so make sure to take advantage of it.
Story tidbits are in the form of notes, posters, or journal entries and are completely optional to pick up. A large STORY icon is displayed above these, which I find helpful as I tend to miss things. There are, of course, secrets on every level so be sure to check around every corner. Most of these hidden stashes contain extra ammo and precious armor. A totals list is displayed after every level so you’ll know if you missed anything—perfect for the completionists out there.
Levels are fairly straightforward, using color-coded keys to unlock doors, making way to the exit. I never got lost but I did jump a few times turning a corner and seeing a zombie an inch from my face. Swamps, haunted crypts, decrepit villages, and spooky forests are nicely detailed, which brings me to…
The most striking part of the game, the visuals. Bright, comic book style art with thick black borders and “flat” enemies. This choice actually makes them stand out more against the 3D environments and gives the game a lot of character. I love how this looks. The monster designs are all wonderful and gross, using the classic Lovecraft green, deep reds, and sickly yellows. Sound effect blurbs like “BOOM!” when a barrel explodes or “HEADSHOT!” add extra touches to complete the look. I was always excited to see what popped up next and would totally stop to admire the details if I wasn’t being attacked by cultists!
Overall, Forgive Me Father is an extremely solid game and a blast to play. Byte Barrel states that this is about half the game’s content, with an additional character, more enemies, bosses, weapons, and skills to be added in the first quarter of 2022. When it does, the price will go up a bit which is standard practice. There are some EA (Early Access) titles that feel really lackluster, but this isn’t one of them. It just needs some player feedback and that extra push to become the best it can be. I encountered no bugs or issues at all during my playthrough. It also runs quite well on my older laptop—I changed the graphic settings to medium just in case, but the average PC should have absolutely no trouble.
There’s a love of love and attention to detail here. Forgive Me Father takes a lot of notes from other games but manages to be unique and memorable in its own way thanks to the art direction. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously either, even with the dark setting. It would make a perfect horror gaming night, just in time for Halloween to boot!
A Steam key of Forgive Me Father was provided for review purposes.