Forgotton Anne – Review
Follow Genre: Action adventure, puzzle, platforming
Developer: ThroughLine Games
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Forgotton Anne – Review

Site Score
9.3
Good: The story, characters, moral choices which matter
Bad: Timing for platforming can be a bit tricky
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Forgotton Anne is a beautiful animated indie game developed by ThroughLine Games, and published by the Square Enix Collective. This game lets you think about your choices in a morally ambiguous world, all the while entertaining you with its silly but often relatable and sometimes even dark characters. The game offers a great, beautifully grim steampunk-style setting you can puzzle and climb your way through, while experiencing its intricate story. 

Story

Forgotton Anne takes place in an alternate dimension where forgotten items shift into, as soon as they are forgotten in our world. These items shift into living and talking creatures, called forgotlings, as soon as they enter that dimension. This place is ruled by Master Boku, a man who is an inventor, trying to get back to the world he came from. To achieve this, he is trying to build a great invention, called the Ether Bridge. You play as Anne, a young girl who is an Enforcer in this world. She had the power to control and store anima, the electricity or power of that dimension. The many machines, mechanisms, factories and contraptions you’ll encounter all function on anima, so it’s a pretty important resource in the game. You can grab anima from canisters you’ll encounter, but also distill it from creatures, killing them in the process. An Enforcer’s job is to punish forgotlings who step out of line.

The story starts with a terrorist attack by rebel forgotlings, blowing up several important buildings and structures in the city. Anne, as an Enforcer, goes out immediately to investigate, help her friends, and restore order so that the work on the ether bridge can continue. She encounters many forgotlings, telling their experiences concerning the disruption of the rebels’ attacks, but also their experiences in the world, and their hopes of the future: to return home to the place where they belong. However, as you are investigating and manage to delve into the motivations of the rebels, you start to question the way the world is set up by master Boku, and wonder if the rebels actually have a point..

This game is definitely story driven: it feels like an interactive animation movie, and a good one at that! The main character Anne has interesting personal development, and the choices you make as a player really matter for the encounters she’ll have in the future. Despite the rather grim world, the forgotlings are all quirky and charmingly funny characters full of personality, which wouldn’t feel out-of-place in a Disney or a Ghibli movie.

Graphics

The graphics of Forgotton Anne are absolutely gorgeous! The characters look like they are designed and animated by a high-end animation studio. The animations are superb and very fluid. The forgotlings all have a very distinct personality, which is being conveyed by which objects they represent, the voice acting and their animations. The backgrounds and environments are beautifully drawn. The world has an obvious steampunk vibe, which works really well with the setting and the backstory. The environments are gritty and moody, but complemented with warm lights and glows. Lights are being used as a method to show the player which parts of machinery have anima, and which have not. The UI is minimal, very intuitive. The anima view shows a sort of x-ray looking view of the area directly surrounding Anne, where you can see the anima pipes and mechanisms to divert anima or power the mechanisms. It’s a nice mechanic, and easy to understand.

Sound

The game is fully narrated, and this is done excellently. The voices are great and fit the characters very well, and show emotion at appropriate times. Especially the forgotlings are very well done: they ooze personality, brilliantly fitting to the type of object they are. Anne makes a lot of different sounds when you are platforming, clearly indicating her effort climbing things, jumping long distances, or accidentally running into walls.

Gameplay

Forgotton Anne is a story-driven action-adventure game, with puzzles and platforming as important gameplay elements. You’ll mainly go around exploring and talking to the many different characters in the game, as you discover what exactly is going on in the world. In order to do this you can choose many conversation options, and often you’ll need to make your way by climbing or restoring power to doors or other mechanisms.

The puzzles mostly revolve around powering circuits with anima, re-route the anima flow, and move platforms or open doors when they have power. You have an anima view you can activate at any time, an x-ray like view which shows you the flow and reserves of energy, even when they are hidden by walls or floors. Anima is a sort of electricity, the energy the world of forgotlings is dependent upon. It can be extracted from living creatures, but also from storage containers. You can store energy in a glove which is a device called Arca to carry it around to mechanisms which need power in order for you to proceed. Many puzzles require you to re-route power to certain sub-systems. Anima can only be diverted when your Arca is powered up, but it’s possible to first divert the flow, and power the mechanism afterwards. However, anima view & manipulation has a certain range, so you have to stand close enough in order to divert anima or empower a circuit.

The puzzles aren’t very hard, but still challenging enough and fun to do. They fit the gameplay and the setting, but don’t disrupt the flow of the story. Most of the time you’ll be repairing mechanisms which are sabotaged by the rebels, or operating and using mechanisms in inventive ways to proceed further into the story. The puzzles and platforming feel like you are overcoming the barriers which have been created by the rebels.

There are many decisions you’ll need to make, which have a very real influence on the story. As an Enforcer, you can be kind or strict. You’ll have the power to distill anima from the rebels or other suspicious forgotlings you meet, but this will kill them. However, sometimes you won’t have a choice and someone needs to be reprimanded for their actions, but you’ll have the option to find out who the real culprit is, and confront the right one. There are several conversation options you can choose to get the clues you want, and you should always explore everywhere to find as much clues as you can. Eventually, you’ll have to choose a path for your character, which gets documented in your diary which you can always read back.

You’ll be platforming quite a bit, climbing and jumping around to get through the mess the rebels have caused with their attacks. Early in the game you’ll get access to wings to assist you with getting around. The wings give you a boost to jumps and the option to glide, but you can use them only if your Arca is charged with anima.

There are also memorabilia you can collect during the game, showing images, letters or items which are illustrations to the story being told by the characters in the game. Finding these and exploring all around to find optional encounters is perfect for completionists and achievement hunters.

Conclusion

Forgotton Anne will give you many hours of entertainment, with its interesting and rather grim story and many quirky characters. The moral path you’ll take with Anne really has an impact on the story. The characters, backgrounds and animations look beautiful, and the sounds, music and voices are really well done and set the atmosphere. Forgotton Anne is a great game for people who love to experience a great story! Even if you aren’t that good at puzzles or platforming, this game is still very accessible to play!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Forgotton Anne - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

1 Comment

  1. […] while ago we had a very positive review of Forgotton Anne. The 2D cinematic adventurer can already be enjoyed on PC, Xbox One and PS4 but […]

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