So it started of when I was really into some horror and macabre a few days ago. When Google search didn't have anything interesting to show me, I resorted to Youtube and lo and behold I found Markiplier playing Fran Bow. I googled Fran Bow as I've never heard of the game at that time, and the next thing I knew was my interest was piqued and I was watching a marathon of Markiplier's Fran Bow gameplay.
So for those of you who don't know what this game is about, here's a little intro I blatantly copy-pasted;
After being witness of the gruesome (and mysterious) loss of her parents, found dismembered at their home Fran runs away into the woods, together with her only friend: Mr. Midnight, a black cat that Fran had previously received as a present from her parents. In the forest, Fran loses senses and when she recovers, she is at Oswald Asylum, an oppressive mental institution for children, with no trace of Mr. Midnight.
After having a dream about her beloved cat she decides to escape the institution to find him and go back to aunt Grace. Aunt Grace is her only living relative who she is very fond of.
Nothing comes easy for Fran. There is also a strange creature, Remor, who wants to prevent Fran Bow from going home at any cost. But she is determined to find her cat, return to aunt Grace and together find out who is responsible for her parents murders.
Ok, so before I proceed with my ramblings about the story I can deduce from the game, the following are some of my favorite screenshots:
|Fran confronts a macabre imagery of her own self holding Mr.Midnight|
|Fran meets the twins after entering a magical door into a well|
|Fran at the heart of Mabuka's Den|
|Ithersta, the perfect Utopian land!|
Since the storyline and its ending is ambiguous, it's open to any sort of interpretation.
My interpretation of the story is Fran Bow is a 10-year old girl who is suffering from some mental disorder. When she was younger, she lived in a children's mental asylum named Oswald Asylum for a brief period of time. During that time, Dr. Oswald from that very asylum was obsessed in carrying out brutal experiments on children with mental disorder, specifically on those who were twins. When Fran's mother Lucia came to know of Dr.Oswald's evil intentions, she took Fran away from the asylum. Lucia and her sister Grace were themselves twins and have been in close observation by Dr. Oswald.
Dr. Oswald hated what Lucia did as she destroyed his evil plans. Dr.Oswald then dispatches Aunt Grace whom I assume is his accomplice. Aunt Grace puts up at Fran's home and one night, Fran finds her parents murdered in their room. Just as she is engulfed in horror of the gruesome murder scene, a black figure who looks like a baphemoth + jersey devil named Remor appears in the window. Fran together with Mr.Midnight her faithful companion, runs away into the woods while weeping. She is so overwhelmed that she falls. Aunt Grace then carries her and put her back in the asylum.
In the asylum, Fran is given a bottle of red pills known as Duotine which makes her hallucinate gory scenes. She meets other children in the asylum, most of whom were younger than her. Fran is very adamant to go back home to find Mr. Midnight and aunt Grace, but most of all she misses her cat, Mr.Midnight. She finds her way out of the asylum.
Fran takes on several challenges posed by other creatures she meet before finally finding a door into a well which led to a cosy house in which a pair of conjoined-twins lived. Fran goes to the attic of the house and finds Mr.Midnight. Along the way, she also finds out about the story of what really happened to the twins. Fran frees her cat after obtaining a key from the twins on whom she performed a weird ritual..
Fast forward, Fran finds herself as a tree log in the second reality which takes place in a Utopian land know as Ithersta. She is healed to have limbs by a furry creature known as Palontras. Once again, she takes on other challenges and quest in the land in search of clues in order to get back home. Though Fran loves this land, she still desires to go home and live with aunt Grace.
The creatures of Ithersta help Fran get back to the third reality, the human world through a time vortex. After travelling through the vortex, she meets Itward and together with Mr. Midnight, the trio rides on board a ship created by Itward en route to Fran's home. On board the ship, Itward throws Fran a surprise birthday party. The ship unfortunately crashes and Fran and Mr.Midnight wanders through a hazy street in search of their home. They do finally reach the threshold of their home but the house is vacant and locked. Mr.Midnight then goes in the house through an open window to unlock the front door but never turns up again. While Fran waits outside for her cat, Dr.Deern who was the doctor chaperoning Fran back in the asylum shows up in the porch. He grabs Fran and shoves her in his car despite Fran insisting that her cat was left behind.
Dr.Deern then pulls up at a cemetery and convinces Fran into digging hers and her parents' grave to find clues. Fran is shocked that it is also her resting place as she firmly believes that she is still alive. Dr. Deern also shows Fran newspaper clippings as prove that there were numerous reports about her death. These were deliberately perpetrated by the nurses and Dr.Oswald of the Oswald asylum to hide Fran in order to make her a test subject and perform experiments on her. Fran digs the graves and sure enough besides finding the corpse of her own parents, she sees the third corpse being that of a cat's. Fran hopes that the skeleton isn't Mr.Midnight's. She is then overcome by emotions and tells Dr.Deern that she feels very bad for digging up her parents' resting place and that she believes that Mr.Midnight is back at her home. She insists in showing Dr.Deern that Mr.Midnight is alive. Dr.Deern agrees to take her back home but just then, Remor shows up again and does something to both Dr.Deern and Fran in attempts to deter them from getting back home.
Fran passes out and awakes moments later to find herself in the Fifth Reality, which is Darkness. She confronts the creatures there, gather clues and once more, she meets Remor. But this time, Remor tells her things that question her own sanity and brings her back to the fateful night her parents were butchered. She sees her past-self murdering her parents and in a rather helpless attempt tries to tell her past-self to stop while weeping heavily. But Fran is still in denial. She still wants to believe that Remor or someone else was behind the murder.
Fast forward to the final scene, we see Fran reuniting with Mr.Midnight once more. Dr.Deern in the background can be seen strapped tightly with leather belts to a chair. Fran wonders what had happened and tries to make Dr.Deern concious. She injects him with a needle and he awakes. Just then, Dr.Oswald and aunt Grace walk into the scene. Dr.Oswald tells Fran of what he wants to do to Fran and aunt Grace on the other hand tells Fran that she and the rest knew it was Fran who was behind the murders as she was seen holding the knife. Fran apologizes and tells Grace that she and Mr.Midnight can go live in Ithersta (that was the most melancholic part of the story for me :( ). Aunt Grace then nonchalantly takes Mr.Midnight and throws him of as Fran begs her not to do so. Fran cries and tells Grace how much she now hates her. Fran is so angry that she pounces on Grace and attempts to choke her. Dr.Oswald arrives to the scene in his wheelchair, aims a pistol at Fran and shoots her from the back. Fran falls to the ground, unconcious. Dr.Oswald now wants to experiment with Fran's brain.
While Fran is dead in reality, she dreams that in the alternate reality, Palontras and Itward together with her cat, Mr.Midnight comes to visit her once more and revive her back to life. They then fly to Ithersta. Fran says that between fear and guilt, she chose happiness.
I vote for this game to be turned into a movie oh boy!
All in all, I would rate this game 9.5/10.
The story through the game really sated my horror and fantasy craving inside.