within a deep forest is a freeware game that harkens back to the days of 16-bit design. it is lush and beautiful, drenched in twilight and ambience, with a mellow downtempo soundtrack. like many games of the 16-bit era, progress is tied to the unlocking of new abilities—new forms for your ball.
you’re a bouncy ball – holding A makes you bounce further, holding S makes you bounce less. different forms have different properties and abilities that need to be mastered. this game never lets lock-and-key design supersede skill – the game has no qualms about working you hard for your next upgrade, and then requiring you to get comfortable with it right away. be prepared to play many sections repeatedly until you get them right – instantaneous respawn keeps this from becoming too frustrating.
there’s a speedrun mode (and online low-time table) for players who finish the game, and a couple of unlockable bonus games for players who are thorough. completing the game the first time should be plenty satisfying, though.