Its compelling web of intrigue makes it worth overlooking some technical rough edges
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Forest Grove. This futuristic detective thriller tasks you with unraveling the mystery of what happened to the missing daughter of a wealthy tech mogul through a meticulous virtual investigation.
Forest Grove transports you to the year 2070, where cutting-edge technology allows crime scenes to be reconstructed and analyzed remotely. You are given control of an advanced scanning device called the Nanodeck to explore every inch of the massive Kunstmatigaard residence in search of clues.
Scanning various objects around the house reveals fingerprints and DNA evidence, building a database of forensic information to parse through. What really drew me in was the web of intriguing backstories threaded between the various persons of interest related to the case.
Poring over messages, audio recordings, and security footage found throughout the virtual home fleshed out family dynamics and unearthed suspicious activity between certain individuals. Flipping between theorizing different suspects' level of involvement kept me guessing until the very end.
Piecing together this welter of clues and timelines into a cohesive theory of what transpired was immensely satisfying. While the actual evidence gathering was a bit formulaic at times, the mental challenge of connecting all the dots rewarded those willing to meticulously scour each area. I re-examined leads several times over as new information came to light.
Presentation-wise, the ambitious scale of recreating an entire mansion was successfully realized, especially with futuristic touches enhancing the 2070 setting. Character models showed some jank, but the quality of writing and performances in audio diaries helped make personalities feel distinct. Some bugs affected navigation on occasion as well, but nothing really too major.
For those seeking an engaging, short story-driven mystery to unpack at their own pace, Forest Grove delivers. Fans of investigative sandbox puzzlers will find plenty to occupy them as they work to crack this virtual missing persons case. Its compelling web of intrigue makes it worth overlooking some technical rough edges. Give this game a try. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a review copy provided by PR. Forest Grove is out now on PlayStation, PC and Xbox.