We humans are naturally forgetful, especially for items that have been replaced or hold no significance to us. So this brings about a question: what happens to all of those items that you've forgotten? Like your favourite doll, that letter from your ex, or even your right sock?
Well, according to the world of Forgotton Anne (and yes, it is meant to be spelt that way), they end up in a world where forgotten items go to become Forgotlings, and they now work to get their way back into our world.
Forgotton Anne is a indie platformer game developed by a Danish studio called ThroughLine Games and published by Square Enix Collective. You follow Anne, who is known as ‘the Enforcer’ in this world, who helps Master Bonku keep Forgotlings in line in this new world should they rebel or not follow orders. But why are they rebelling to begin with? Are things in this forgotten world really as they seem?
Jump into seamless Ghibli-like visuals
One of the first things you'll notice about this game is how beautiful and cinematic it is. In fact, you can say the artstyle is similar to that of Ghibli, which makes sense as the lead animator of this game had actually studied under former Ghibli animators in Tokyo! Along with elements of steampunk in it, Forgotton Anne is a sight to behold as it is to play, as movement and backgrounds match seamlessly together.
Forgotton Anne also offers some awesome game mechanics. While it still has the usual platforms and puzzles, Anne has the ability to use arca, which is a form of energy that enables you to power up doors or switches. The twist is how you get that arca, as you could either find it in containers or, as you find out within the first 15 minutes of the game, from other forgotlings. This means you have the option to be passive and find your source of arca from containers lying around, or you can be aggressive and take it from a random forgotling. Be prepared to be judged for your actions though!
Anne also comes with mechanical wings that enable her to jump higher and further, which adds another element that makes the game interesting, as the wings are only usable if you have arca as well.
It's clear that the game offers an interesting storyline, with characters that you won't forget anytime soon. The focus is so much on the story though, that it took some research for me to realise how Anne never actually dies in the game, or if there even is a ‘game over’ moment, for the sole purpose of keeping you engrossed in the story. This is great, and definitely one of my favourite moments, if only it didn't feel odd to see Anne seemingly fall really hard on the ground whenever her wings are gone, only to get up without even a scratch.
Frustrations with controlling Anne
Speaking of which, the game does have its flaws in the form of wonky controls. Jumping using wings isn't always instantaneous, as it takes time due to the short 1 second animation it involves. But as a gamer, you and I both know 1 second is enough of a difference to affect the gameplay, especially when you need to aim really carefully when jumping. That's not all: solving certain puzzles will have you moving items in a curved direction, but instead of pressing one button, you have to press a few directions to get it moving in the direction that you want. While this means the game requires a controller, the game showed no indication of such. Hopefully those using a controller had a much smoother gameplay, as it really was a struggle for me using the keyboard.
There are no save points in this game either, if you leave the game and return later, you will start off where it last automatically saved. This may be a good thing as it promises to keep you within the story at all times, but it doesn't save your entire progress. There have been a couple of times where I had to redo puzzles, not realising I wasn't done yet when I left the game. There isn't an option to skip conversations either, so it can be quite frustrating to leave the game and restart on the last auto save.
Lastly, while the story is great, and your choices do matter in affecting Anne's personality, there are still only two endings that will leave you feeling like they didn't quite answer everything. No matter which choice you make, you will feel a little cheated by this. But it doesn't stop the game from giving you a rather emotional farewell, no matter which choice you make.
Regardless of the challenges I faced playing this game, there's no doubt that this game is a sight to behold with its story that has us thinking about what it means to be forgotten. The seamless animation is a standout for this indie game, and deserves to be played by any fans of the indie genre, as well as those who enjoy the artwork of Studio Ghibli.