For the past few weeks, when doing reviews, I’ve been doing two games in the same article—thanks to the new concise review format. But sometimes, you gotta give a game the attention it deserves, by making it the star of its own review, make it memorable. As it happens, this game is all about that, Forgotton Anne (and no, that’s not a typo!).
Release Date: May 2018
In Forgotton Anne you control Anne, the Enforcer to Master Bonku, the ruler of the land where all things forgotten go to. That sock you lost? It’s there, along with every possession you’ve forgotten about, and in this land, they’re alive and while some follow Bonku, there are rebels about. The game opens with the rebels’ latest attack, forcing Anne to pursue them, discovering things she didn’t know along the way!
- Lookin’ Good: Forgotton Anne is a beautiful game, with hand-drawn visuals that reminded me of classic anime and western animated movies. Characters are wonderfully designed, especially the myriad of sentient objects, the Forgottlings and their derelict world, always dark and dreary and slowly collapsing, but still filled with so much wonder.
- The Writing is Strong in This One: The plot is fantastic and though some elements are predictable due to the kind of story being told, the brilliance of the characters will keep you hooked, even through those moments when you know, in advance, what’s going to happen. Characters are fun, with surprising depth, even if most of them embody common narrative tropes. Fig and Anne’s relationship and chemistry is phenomenal and a joy to watch.
- Puzzling Goodness: Puzzles in Forgotton Anne focus on the character’s ability to manipulate Anima, the life-force of the world. She can drain batteries of carry the power with her in her Arca, a glove with a crystal, to restore power to something else. She can even use this power to kill, ripping the anima from the Forgottlings. At times this might be a choice even. I’m a big fan of the Arca Door puzzles, where you need to move spheres along track to specific holes on a door to open it. Fun stuff.
- Solid Platform: Along with the puzzles there’s a good chunk of platforming and it’s quite fun despite there never being a chance for failure. You can always try again. There’s no chance for Anne to die, so try, try, try again! Anne’s mechanical wings add lots of depth to the platforming sequences.
- J’Accuse!: Forgotton Anne has many points where you must choose your actions, often involving anima and ripping the lifeforce from Forgottlings, a process they call distilling. The game will then at a couple of key moments go back and check on your choices and throw them in your face, affecting pivotal conversations.
- Nice DJ: The music is deeply engrossing, with moody tracks that complement the environment and events on-screen perfectly, punctuating them and often intensifying them.
- Binary: Though there are many choices and Forgotton Anne’s characters judge you at certain points about them, the ending you receive is a binary choice, A or B. Would’ve been good that it was based on the totality of your decisions and the way you behaved towards the world.
- Fire the Cameraman: The camera’s zoom in Forgotton Anne depends on the scene and on-screen events, shifting as the drama requires though it often zooms in and out in rapid succession, making me groan and shout “make up your mind!” at the screen.
- Keep it steady, will ya?: I love the music and the voice acting is pretty good too, but the volume for in-game audio, particularly conversations, shifts up and down in a fair number of scenes, increasing in frequency as you progress. A character might be explaining a key plot point to you and their voice will drop violently then rise again. It’s jarring to say the least!
- Get on With it! The Forgotton Anne intro cutscene is too damn long. It felt like it went on for ages. I understand the desire to introduce the world and its rules on the outset, but there’s too much of it, especially considering everything the cutscene “tells you,” you’ll finds out on your own within minutes of controlling the character.