Games don’t have to be perfect in order to be attractive. Some games are better because they deliver an overall cohesive experience while others can be enjoyable on a single aspect alone. Forgotton Anne is an indie game that offers stunning visuals and a distinctive setting for its story. It immediately draws your attention based on the art alone but does the actual game offer anything interesting?
Forgotton Anne has a great premise for its story. It is set in a world where objects that are basically ‘forgotten’ by people live together in harmony. It is essentially a place for the forgotten objects that can range from machines, piece of clothes to essentially everything that is left behind by people. This means you will be interacting with plenty of weird shaped objects over the course of the story, however don’t let it deter you from the basis of the game.
This is an interactive narrative driven adventure mixed with puzzles. It also features platformer-lite gameplay elements and branching storyline that helps give it more replay value. The main appeal as I have seen is that Forgotton Anne is jaw dropping gorgeous. It astonishes me to see that this was the world of an indie developer. It reminds me of the classic point and click adventure games like Disc World. However, it would be a disingenuous to the game to not mention its story.
Forgotton Anne story revolves around a rebellion in the Forgotten Lands. The main character is Anne, who is an ‘enforcer’ in the game’s world. It is her job to take care of the security and make sure that peace is maintained. She has a unique gadget called the arca which has the power to store anima, the source of energy in Forgotten Lands. Anima is used to power basically everything and it is also a source of life in the world. The creatures in the world are called ‘Forgotlings’ and Anne has the power to steal their life force with her arca, thus giving her the upper hand against them.
The rebellion leads to many of the key locations in the world running out of anima. Since it also powers things like basic electricity, the world get shrouded in darkness and it is up to Anne to figure out this mystery and find the cause of the rebellion. As she makes her way to the source of the problem, she will have encounters with some of the rebels that are making their escape and it will be up to the player to determine their fate. Anne herself is a great character that is well written and her past is also slowly uncovered as you make your way through the story.
There is a branching narrative in the game that relies on the choices you make the shape the story. In some of the encounters, the outcome of the conversation will change or encounters will play out differently depending on your choice. This is seen right in the beginning as a stranger Forgotling enters the home of Anne and claims to be some innocent bystander. The game gives the player the choice here to trust his words or figure out his lies. Depending on the choice you make, the encounter will play differently. Situations like this happen throughout the story and help add some replay value if you decide to play through it again.
While Forgotton Anne nails the aesthetics of an animated adventure set in a magical world, it feels a bit dated when it comes to the platforming controls. The running and jumping all have a certain lag to them that reminds me of Prince of Persia. Maybe some will find it charming but it never feels ideal. Speaking of the platforming, there is a good amount of it in the game. You will also get power-ups like wings that lets you jump higher and it is up to you to figure out how to solve a particular puzzle using your arca.
Puzzles in the game are simple and easy to figure out for the most part. I never found them difficult enough to struggle with them. They rely on the power of the arca which can gather anima so you will have to find a source of anima to fill out your arca before you can solve them. It is used creatively throughout the game and I felt like the developers did a great job integrating the puzzles into the story. They transition rather well to the game’s world and make you feel like they are just a part of it, instead of something that is added to pad the story.
Forgott0n Anne is a great example of an indie game that manages to execute its concept brilliantly. It is not every day that you come across a beautiful game that not only looks amazing on screen, it also features a powerful narrative-driven story adventure that starts to make you question the choices that you make in the game.
Forgotton Anne Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Forgotton Anne is an indie adventure-platformer video game developed by ThroughLine Games and published by Square Enix Collective.
Forgotton Anne sets new benchmark in interactive story-telling and shows that you don’t need to have a big budget just to provide the best experience.