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The Steam Game Festival Summer Edition will kick off soon, offering indie lovers dozens upon dozens of exciting demos for upcoming games to try out. If the last festival is any indication, then expect some new and exciting titles to enter your ever-growing wishlist.

One such indie gem among these is Armaan Sandhu’s Forgotten Fields, a narrative experience about growing up and accepting the harsh realities of life. Basically what each of us millennials goes through on a daily basis. Also basically my Facebook feed. I’ve grown fond of indie games offering these brisk slice-of-life experiences over the past few years as both a way to kill time and as a contemplating medium.  Whether you’re playing Eastshade, Firewatch, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, or The Gardens Between – there’s a little something for everyone.

Forgotten fields

Armaan’s last game Rainswept proved that there was still hope for game development in India and not everything has to be about the native try-hard e-Sports scene. Thanks to his one-man development studio Frostwood Interactive and publisher Dino Digital, I got the chance to experience the demo a bit earlier than the general public.

Forgotten Fields is the story of Siddharth D’Souza, an aspiring young novelist with a serious case of writer’s block living in Goa. It’s a Sunday, the last day for Sid to submit the summary of his second novel in order to apply for a much-needed writer’s grant. Demotivated and under a lot of stress, Sid is unable to brainstorm ideas for his fantasy work about a young girl gifted with magical abilities.

Forgotten fields

The clock is ticking and suddenly he gets a letter from his mother regarding the sale of his childhood home. She has organized a farewell party and has invited Sid and all his close friends who have fond memories of the house. Sid reluctantly agrees to go as he believes that some fresh air will give him the much-needed motivation to get started. Join Sid as he reluctantly journeys back home, meets friends, and relives old memories in this game about nostalgia, creativity, and the passage of time.

forgotten fields

The gameplay consists of interactive sessions following Sid on a nostalgia trip trying to rekindle the flames of his creativity, as well as to come to terms with the passage of time.  At times, it lets the player take a peek at his creative process by switching the narrative between Sid and the protagonist from his novel as it continues to form. The player will get to witness how writers subconsciously project themselves onto their works, a much-debated aspect of western literary criticism for a long time.

forgotten fields

It didn’t take long before the criminally short demo left me wanting more. Two primary reasons being the setting and Sid himself. Goa is an amazing place to visit, both for Indians and tourists alike. I was 17 the last time I went there and it didn’t end happily. Let’s just say that copious amounts of alcohol and some coast guards were involved. The sunny shores, serene beaches, a nightlife like no other, and the remnants of Portuguese culture set the tiny state apart. Trust me on that.

Forbidden Fields tries to replicate this pleasant vibe of Goa with its minimalist art design and serene soundtrack. It pretty much succeeds in what it sets out to do with the only drawbacks being some crude animations. But this is a demo after all. These screenshots will do a better job than me in explaining the awesome art style.

forgotten fields

Writer’s block is a bitch. I remember the time when I used to be an aspiring writer. That didn’t go anywhere. Writer’s block didn’t either. I used to write like crazy when I first joined Gameffine. Weekly editorials, daily news coverage, the whole shebang. That’s a far cry from what I do these days. It’s a wonder I manage to finish even reviews on time nowadays. So many half-baked ideas floating around in my head but the moment I sit down to flesh them out, my brain goes blank for days on end. It also prevents me from starting work on my research thesis, something that should be submitted before the end of this year. I’m living the life!

Imagine the same case but with a professional writer. But writer’s block isn’t the only thing that makes Sid relatable to the player. I was easily able to project myself onto Sid because we have a lot more in common: late 20’s realizations about life and overwhelming responsibilities. Not being able to enjoy things that once brought you joy. Loneliness. Alienation. Estranged friendships. Bills and more bills. Then there’s the whole childhood nostalgia trip that none of us is a stranger to. As the demo ended and the title screen faded in, I kept asking myself- “how is this not about me?”

Forgotten Fields is a story about each one of us as much as it’s about Sid and his struggles. I kept seeing myself in Sid’s place throughout the course of the demo. We all have to come to terms with life at some point and who knows, maybe this game will prove to be my much-needed epiphany. It may very well show me that I have to get off my ass and get some work done lest I end up as a sad old man with a lot of regrets. You know what they say; time and tide wait for no man or person of any gender for that matter.

The Forgotten Fields demo will be live for you to try out at the Steam Summer Game Festival in an hour or so. If you like what you see, then head over to the game’s Kickstarter page and help make it a reality. If you are still in doubt, then don’t forget to check out Rainswept and see Armaan’s talents in full action.


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