Today I learnt about a game called Fran Bow


Gather round, point-and-click adventure fans; have I found a delectable treat for you. Fran Bow is a new adventure game by Stockholm based Killmonday Games. The tiny indie team is made up of two people: Natalia Figueroa (who handles story, art, character design, and animation) and Isak Martinsson (who handles music and programming).

Fran Bow is the first retail game the duo has developed, after a stint producing free games and working in film.

In this point-and-click adventure, you’ll take on the role of a young girl who finds herself in an asylum after the gruesome murder of her parents. The murder has all sorts of supernatural undertones, and Fran herself sees some nasty stuff prior to discovering their bodies.

The game uses a hand-drawn art style that captures the narrative’s underlying creepy tone. Couple that with the unsettling soundtrack and you’ve got a rather chilling offering in Fran Bow.

There are some pretty rough undertones going on this game: dealing with loss, dealing with mental disorders, dealing with fears. It’s also unapologetically gruesome and at times really horrific. There’s also a strong Alice in Wonderland vibe that brings in elements of the darker themes found in the video game series, American McGee’s Alice. That alone makes me really happy, because I adore the Alice in Wonderland stories and American McGee’s interpretations thereof.

The good news is that there’s a demo of Fran Bow available on Steam. I mucked about with it last night to get a feel for the interface and early puzzles, and I’m pretty intrigued. The art has me hooked already, and the apparent psychotic nature of the eponymous Fran Bow makes for some unsettling dialogue options. There are no voice-overs in this game, so if you’re opposed to reading then that’s one hurdle you’ll need to get over. It shouldn’t really be an issue considering dialogues are kept very short; there’s some economical writing going on in this.

In terms of the game’s interface things are pretty straight forward. At the start of the game, Fran gets a purse that acts as your inventory. In the inventory you’re able to Examine, Use, and Combine objects you pick up. Outside of the inventory screen, Fran will look at whatever you click on to provide you with some further information.

You can grab a copy of Fran Bow on Steam or GOG for $15 (about R200.00) or try out that aforementioned demo. The game is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can head on over to the game’s official website, and there’s a trailer below. So if a point-and-click adventure of a psychotic nature appeals to you, then this might be your cup of tea. Plus there’s a cat called Mr. Midnight so, you know, cats!