Today we’re taking a look at Indie adventure title Fran Bow. This is a great horror themed point-n-click developed by Killmonday. Prepare to be disturbed.
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everyone pushing up roses here today we're talking about an indie adventure game called Fran bow which was developed by kill Monday and released just a few months ago after having a successful IndieGoGo campaign this title can only be described as indescribable I mean holy there is a lot going on here in terms of story themes and symbolism I can't even I can't even you play as a little girl named Fran bow if that wasn't obvious enough by the title Fran bow the story starts out with a memory Fran recalls being happy spending time with her parents her aunt Grace and recounts the time she was given a pet kitten whom she calls mr. midnight one night she experiences a very bad feeling and sees a horrible face in her window a few moments later she hears screams and finds the bodies of her parents sliced to ribbons a kitchen knife implied to be the murder weapon Fran then runs away and trips somewhere in the forest she's found later by unknown figures and carried away you wake up as Fran in the Oswald asylum during a session with your psychiatrist dr. Dern she seems to be completely fed up with life at a mental institution which I understand perfectly and wants to go back home to be with her Aunt Grace and mr. midnight but she is told that her mental state isn't improved enough for her to be discharged dr. Durand then implores Fran to take her new medicine saying it will make her feel relaxed she takes it and suddenly yep we've entered creepy town population a ton of decapitated heads Fran passes out from the hallucination and wakes up in her hospital room this is the first chapter your objective is to get out and find your cat mr. midnight and your Aunt Grace who is your only living relative but you're also on a mission to seek the truth about what happened to your parents this game is split up into five chapters each one is very different from the last illustrating Fran's journey from the mental asylum to whimsical forest to magical and heavenly places in the clouds I would describe this title as a psychological horror point-and-click adventure game moving the story along relies heavily on figuring out the inventory object puzzles and oh how happy I am to be collecting inventory I love checking my inventory I like having a lot of things in my inventory especially bloody knives those are important I want to make this review as spoiler free as possible because after this video which will hopefully pique your interest I plan on writing some fan theory videos and trust me if you play this game you're gonna have a lot of theories in order for Fran to see things other people cannot she takes these red pills called duo teen when she does she has these very disturbing hallucinations and could see black shadows that say incredibly morbid things these hallucinations are key to progressing the game and the story and in the beginning you aren't entirely sure if Fran is suffering from a mental illness or if the drug she's taking triggers her the game does a fantastic job being perfectly ambiguous while also dropping clues as to what Fran's story really is there are many themes in this game love illness the supernatural time travel evil magic there is so much to digest and yet due to how the game is structured it's never too confusing and it doesn't leave you completely inundated with story as Fran goes through her journey she is hunted by a strange creature who calls himself remor and whom others call the terrible black or the Prince of Darkness he does not want her to continue her journey and use his manipulation and fear tactics to urge her to commit suicide and join him in the house of madness I think the name remor is very interesting as it can perhaps be interpreted as remorse and his personality is just so evil so completely dark and disturbing you have to wonder if this character is tangible or if he represents the struggles of a crippling mental illness the devil is the father of all lies deception mental illness will deceive you and make you see and believe things that aren't there this is an incredibly strong metaphor to me but then again it may have nothing to do with mental illness at all it could be completely supernatural and remor could be very real and maybe the hallucinations aren't hallucinations at all maybe they're part of Fran's destiny is she mentally unstable or is everything just a fantasy so many questions this game is literally a walking metaphor but not literally because that would be weird it is figuratively a walking metaphor there are very few titles that I would say I felt disturbed by but this is definitely one of them the artwork is strong diabolical curious and agitating the developers certainly know how to create a very foreboding atmosphere filled with McCobb animations there are very few jump scares but the settings can get so tense that even the smallest startles are effective and I think small startles and ambiguity are much more perturbing than a shocking pee-your-pants jump scare the game is heavily influenced by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll there are references to it throughout the entire game everything from the importance of not losing your head and the amount of decapitated heads to the anthropomorphic characters the timepieces rabbits scattered everywhere and the nonsensical aspects of the game but most obvious is Fran herself who has always been curious curiosity is a reoccurring subject in this game Fran prides herself on being curious and creative and considers those her greatest traits while other aspects of curiosity in this game are implied to be precarious and could lead someone to a fate they weren't quite expecting it also closely resembles American McGee's Alice with similar plot elements wherein both characters parents die suddenly and they end up in a mental facility and Fran is also donning fashionable striped tights similar to the character in that game not to mention the use of the large kitchen knife oh right and there's also this picture now probably unrelated something I really like about Fran as a character is that she's a child her responses to objects she sees throughout her journey can range from very innocuous to absurd to somewhat sassy she's very cute and naive but at the same time something is quite off about her she does miss her parents and sometimes gets weepy over her predicament but she bounces back very quickly sometimes her responses are very natural like when she sees these creatures outside her window who are holding her head now if that were me I would freak out and hide in a closet but Fran just gets salty and demands her head back my kind of girl she also has an imaginary friend named it word and huh you know I can't imagine too many 10 year olds willing to befriend a skeleton Slenderman looking thing the morose aspects of her personality seemed to hint on the fact that there is something special about Fran for better or for worse the game makes a point to illustrate how complex the brain is and Fran herself is constantly saying how she doesn't understand her own thoughts her journey is not just one for seeking out the truth but also self-discovery you'll notice this character maturing a lot as you go through the story for a 10 year old girl she's pretty fascinating and I enjoyed playing as her the game isn't entirely horror-themed in fact there are some chapters that aren't creepy at all and these chapters do a great job at breaking up the mood of the gameplay I think it would have been extremely monotonous if it didn't have light-hearted elements so I appreciated the change of pace the best thing about Fran bow is when you finish the game you aren't actually finished your brain will keep spinning and you will have more questions than solutions long after you completed ambiguous endings are tough in the past plenty of vague endings have pissed off players but this game really seems to get it right and I'm perfectly content to think of my own theories and apply my own solutions to the ending I actually played through it twice because I wanted to keep piecing things together I spent hours combing through the settings of each chapter this game really makes you feel like every object you come across has some meaning or symbolism and that is the sign of a good game if you are perfectly cool to go back and pixel hunt for hours then the creator's did something very right it's awesome that the theme about curiosity doesn't just exist within the character of Fran bow it also leaks onto the player curious and curious Fran bow is a tremendous effort developed by only two people two people I was floored when I heard that because of how well done it really is I enjoyed this game a lot and I commend the designers for this creative moody and curious title I recommend it to anyone who wants an engaging gaming experience adventurers and non adventurers alike you can find it on Steam and GOG for about $15 and I feel that is a fair price for the experience and the time I put into it happy morbid gaming and stay tuned for my fan Theory videos on Fran bow coming at you in the near future hey everyone thanks for watching my review on Fran bow I hope it aroused your curiosity if you want to see another spooky game I recently reviewed there's one linked in the annotations I was just joking it's just Harvester I was always a kidder if you want to share fan theories about Fran bow feel free to talk to me on Twitter or Facebook and if you want to support my channel and talk to me more directly I have a patreon campaign as always see you guys in the next one