The Forbidden Arts – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure Game
Developer: Stingbot Games
Publisher: Stingbot Games
Platforms: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

The Forbidden Arts – Review

Site Score
Good: Nostalgic fun, Decent lenght
Bad: Basic premise
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Magic is not always a good thing. If it falls into the wrong hands, for example, it can cause all kinds of problems. Luckily most fantasy settings are also brimming with chosen ones and other heroes who are just waiting for some crazy adventure to go on. The Forbidden Arts by Stingbot Games is an adventure alright, with a staggering amount of fantasy clichés to keep it going, but just the right amount of nostalgia to turn predictable into something enjoyable.


The Forbidden Arts is set in a fantasy world where there are seven different types of magic. In the olden days, this wasn’t a big issue, but as is to be expected, some people want to use these powers for less savory goals. Voltaire was one such person, who tried using necromancy to dominate the world. Now everything is fractured and it is up to a young man names Phoenix, who harbors the power of fire himself, to go on a journey of self-discovery through the different lands.

It’s a pretty basic set-up for this genre, though the game stands out a bit by not dropping the story on us at the very start. In fact, you will find yourself thrown right into the gameplay instead, and only learn about the world around you by talking to various NPC who will also sometimes grant you short cutscenes that build the story. It’s a nice change of pace at least.


The graphics of The Forbidden Arts are quite nice, given that it is the studio’s first game. Everything is animated in a very colorful style that is pleasing to look at and which, perhaps, more importantly, makes it easy to distinguish between the various lands you visit. While a lot of the enemies are clearly based on existing mythology, the animators evidently had fun applying their own style to these creatures and giving the game a unique touch.


The music here is fine. Nothing stands out particularly, but it sets the mood for the different areas you visit. Much like the art style, the soundtrack in this game is reminiscent of the Fables series, granting the game a certain amount of nostalgia which makes it easier to get through the more tedious bits of gameplay. There is some voice acting in the game, which once again isn’t bad but not overly impressive either, though it is mostly reserved for cutscenes or very important NPCs. A minor complaint is the fact that the music is so much louder than the voice work, even after fiddling with the options, making us really glad to have subtitles otherwise we wouldn’t be able to properly follow the story.


The Forbidden Arts is an adventure game, mainly focused on exploration, fighting and the occasional bit of platforming. Playing as Phoenix we get to discover five lands, each with several levels to complete. The lands themselves are presented in 3D, almost giving an open-world vibe, though you will quickly notice these areas are rather small. While they might look very big at first glance, invisible walls will prevent you from exploring them much, and you will mainly use them to pick between levels.

The levels themselves are 2D, meaning Phoenix can only go left or right. In comparison to the world map though, these levels are incredibly big. A mini-map in the corner will make it easier for you to navigate, but with platforms and ravines to explore, there is plenty to discover. It won’t be easy though, as various obstacles mean you will have to jump, climb and fight your way through them. Scale walls, hang from vines and be prepared to use that double jump if you want to search every nook and cranny. And you will want to because you might find some hidden gold which will come in useful later.

You will have to keep your daggers at the ready though because the levels are also full of various creatures who very much want you dead. You start off fighting wolves and bears but will soon find yourself facing magical creatures too. At this point, you will find it necessary to have a little magic of your own handy, and luckily Phoenix has the art of Pyromancy at his disposal. As long as you can replenish your powers at a campfire once in a while, various spells will make fighting a lot easier for you. And if push comes to shove, you can always dodge your enemies’ attacks. Of course, better gear and more spells will become available as you continue to brave the wilderness. Should you die anyway, The Forbidden Arts is very lenient, with plenty of checkpoints that will make it so you can respawn and try again.


While The Forbidden Arts doesn’t bring anything new to the table, instead rehashing a lot of tried and true Fantasy game formulas, that doesn’t mean the game is bad. It’s easy, it’s old-school, and it’s longer than most indie games, so at least you won’t have to worry about getting bored.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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The Forbidden Arts - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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