There are few new game premises out there. So, to fill the gap between original ideas, mobile game players have become used to the idea of repeatedly playing the same repackaged experience time and again.
This is exactly what Forest Home has done, taking all of the ground work of puzzlers like Flow Free and adding a healthy dollop of Disney-esq presentation. The result is a polished logic game that looks lovely – but which loses something due to its derivative nature.
If you play puzzle games regularly then there is a good chance you will recognize what Forest Home is doing. Borrowing from Flow Free’s template, the simple goal is to guide your pieces to their goal around a series of varying size grids - all within a set number of moves.
To add some extra complexity, each piece leaves a trail of color behind it. These paths cannot be crossed by pieces - apart from at special bridge squares - forcing you to trace strange routes around the touchscreen.
The final wrinkle of this formula, is that the grid must be filled with these trails. Just delivering your pieces to their targets is thus not enough, you must also work out a route that ensures maximum color-coverage.
It’s a system that can prove strangely rewarding as you work out which unnatural-direction or peculiar zig-zagging path you must take for all of your pieces to reach their goal while also completely covering the board.
An adorable adventure
You can enjoy these puzzles across two modes. Adventure is the main campaign mode that asks you to attempt increasingly difficult problems, introducing more complexity as you progress. It also introduces a free-to-play layer that forces you to wait for lives to recharge or to pay to continue more quickly.
The other option is Quick Play, which throws challenge after challenge at you on set sized grids – with 4x4 and 5x5 puzzle grids included for free and others requiring payment to unlock.
There is a lot of game to enjoy in Forest Home, but none of that would matter if it didn’t distinguish itself from the games it borrows from – a feat it achieves through its playful presentation. The forest setting is filled with adorable creatures that you must lead to their home.
Gummy the Bear is my favorite. His target is a cave, and watching him amble along the grey rock path I have drawn for him - past the vivid grass green path of a rabbit, straw yellow of a fox, and autumnal orange of a wolf – just gives me a warm glow inside.
You can see this wood for the trees
It is the presentation that raises Forest Home above being a mere clone of other successful games, and makes it something worth recommending in its own right. It may lack the originality of its progenitors, but it’s cute polish should broaden the game's appeal beyond puritanical puzzle fans.