Relive, and relive again, your favourite day in the cursed Roman town with our guide to experiencing the best of The Forgotten City. If you haven’t played it, The Forgotten City is an adventure game inspired by ancient history. It has you striking up conversations with citizens to unravel the source of a repressive supernatural law.
This is a place where all sin is outlawed on pain of turning into a slab of gold. Of course, until you reveal the source of this regime, The Forgotten City is a sinless utopia. And thanks to a mischievous time loop, you have all of eternity to enjoy it. Best make the most of it with our tips below (beware: spoilers).
1. Archaeologist insight
When you start on the bank of the river Tiber, you can pick from multiple roles. Picking archaeologist will furnish expert insight later on. When Galerius tells you it’s 827 years since the founding of Rome, you can tell him: actually, no, it’s 65 AD.
2. In the crosshairs
By default, crosshairs are enabled in the game. Except for rare moments of combat, this just gets in the way of your sightseeing. Disable them by going into the general menu and unchecking the crosshair option.
3. Look at mosaics
The city is home to numerous floor mosaics. They’re genuinely impressive and closely modelled on photographic references. Archaeologist Dr Sophie Hay helped the team at Modern Storyteller make sure the mosaics were appropriate and in the right place. The chosen designs aren’t random, either.
4. Pry into private lives
Magistrate Sentius has given you permission to skulk through citizens’ homes, so don’t feel bad about rifling through their things. Spread over workbenches, bookshelves and desks, you’ll find situationally appropriate bread, jugs, mirrors and instruments and other items that reflect the lives of different characters. This charm is found in the slums.
5. Find Diogenes
Diogenes the Cynic was a philosopher of 4th century BC Greece, now most famous for probing strangers on their virtue and living in an overturned ceramic tub. Inside the Forgotten City, an old man nobody seems to know about fits the description.
To the right hand side of the avenue leading towards the baths is the temple of Demeter. Enter a hatch at the back and a path will lead underground. The resulting cavern is inhabited by the talkative figure, as well as a tub which has been converted into a cosy bed.
6. Swim with Tantalus
This world is full of curious mythological references. In the city’s pond there is an allusion to the punishment of Tantalus. In Greek mythology, Tantalus was condemned to stand in a pool of water beneath a low hanging branch. Every time he tried to drink from the water, it receded, and whenever he reached for the tree’s fruit it eluded his grasp.
7. Roll with Sisyphus
High on the temple overlooking the city, a golden figure wrestles with a vast boulder. This will ring bells if our friend Galerius has informed you of the plight of Sisyphus. Sisyphus’ punishment for cheating death had him endlessly rolling a stone up a mountain.
8. Spin with Ixion
You will find Modern Storyteller’s nod to Ixion by entering the cave from the theatre and then turning left. For slaying his kin, Zeus ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a flaming, spinning wheel.
9. Translate graffiti
The streets of this mini metropolis are daubed with suggestive Latin graffiti. Who is defacing the walls in a city without sin? Interact with them for translations.
10. Divine retribution
You may be a fleshy mortal, but you have the time travelling abilities of a god. One of the most satisfying puzzles in the game involves an assassin asking for help finding his target. You’ll soon discover that a nearby shrine collapses when entered. The next time you meet him, you’ll know where to send him.
11. Press P
The Forgotten City features a photo mode that you can use to take pictures of this august virtual environment. If you’re playing on PC, this key is P. If it’s dark, enter the portal again to renew the golden light.
12. Leap of Faith
In front of the city’s highest temple, you’ll have an opportunity for some adventure sports. Let Ulpius jump from the cliff (you’ll be able to help him next time) into Malleolus’s villa. The sinkhole Ulpius will create in the floor of the pool makes for a pleasant landing for you.
13. Messenger boy
Galerius will be the first person you meet every time you begin the time loop. He’s easy to impress and quick to offer his help. To save you footwork at the beginning of each loop, you can assign tasks that you’ve completed previously for him to carry out.
While stealing breaks the Golden Rule and triggers the reanimation of bow-wielding statues, you keep the objects in your possession into the next loop. You’ll find chests of denarii in Desius’s shop (a key is on his shelf) and in the locked room in Malleolus’s villa.
15. Cheat a cheat
Another way to acquire money, should you need it, is to return to Desius after completing his quest to capture Diana’s bow. Don’t confront him about his deception. Instead, sell him information about where he can acquire a golden bow of his own.
16. Fight or flight
Each time you break the Golden Rule and trigger the world-ending event, don’t bother shooting your way out of trouble. Instead, run directly to the portal. Make sure to use nearby ziplines to hasten your journey.
The subterranean city has its own goose. Say hello to it at Galerius’ farm at the base of the chasm.