[Trigger warning: Sexual abuse, cutting, suicidal tendencies, rape, and pedophilia. The entire game involves gory hallucinations. Or are they?]
I backed Fran Bow two years ago after seeing a few YouTubers tackle the Alpha Demo. It has been officially released a few days ago, and I am playing it to observe the game from a few angles, as both a feminist as well as someone with a mental illness. Additionally, some other matters may be brought up along the way, depending on what developer and artist Natalia Figueroa decides to throw at us through this quaint point-and-click adventure horror game.
Are you ready? Be warned: SPOILERS ahead!
Chapter 1 shows our protagonist being sent to a children’s asylum after witnessing the morbid murder of her parents. When she initially ran away from the gory scene of the crime with her cat, Mr. Midnight, only to collapse in a forest to be taken in by unknown parties, Mr. Midnight runs off. Upon investigation, you discover that you are being sent here not only against your will, but that your legal guardian, Aunt Grace, appears to have something to tell you.
From exploring the backdrop and observing the style of dress, this probably takes place around the ’50s or so, especially since the concept of institutionalizing people is no longer as widespread as it used to be back then. Fran Bow reminds me of the early Monkey Island games with its puzzles and simplicity. I found that I end up kicking myself when the solutions were right in front of me and I just spent too much time making things more complex than they really were.