Forgotton Anne Review

In search of the Ether

Posted by B1ueSeptember   12th May 2018
Forgotton Anne is the much-anticipated title from ThroughLine Games and Square Enix Collective, the branch of Square devoted to encouraging independent game producers. Inspired by much-loved Studio Ghibli movies, the game honors that inspiration without becoming its clone.

As the game begins, you�??ll notice immediately the beautiful artwork. Hand-drawn backgrounds, lovely coloration, and excellent voice work will pull you in at once. As the story opens, you�??ll wake up (as Anne) in The Forgotten Lands, a world where objects forgotten by their owners mysteriously become conscious and live as sentient beings known as forgotlings. Only two humans live here �?? Anne and her master, Master Bonku. Bonku is the ruler of this world, which he controls very strictly, violators of his rules risking a lifetime in "the Plant." Anne, the Enforcer, wears the Arca, the �??grim glove�?� that has the power to �??distill�?� any forgotling, killing it instantly as the glove absorbs its anima, the force that gives life to scarfs, shoes, old trunks, and refrigerators. Anima is the life force and power of this world; everything runs on it, and the Arca alone can manipulate it.

It�??s in the manipulating of anima that much of the gameplay happens. Forgotton Anne is a mish-mash of platformer, puzzler, and RPG that is largely story driven. The game is quite linear. You will have a task to complete, and the story will continue once it�??s done. The puzzle element revolves around opening a certain door, moving an elevator, finding a new way out of a room, etc. This usually involves absorbing anima from one source and using it on another, rechanneling power until the desired result is achieved. The puzzles aren�??t usually difficult, but at times, getting Anne to do what you want her to do can be frustrating.

The controls are fairly straightforward. You move Anne with the left stick. She can jump, sprint, sprint jump, and angel jump (she jumps using her wings �?? anima-powered wings that allow her to jump higher) with different combinations of buttons. While simple, the controls aren�??t always smooth. For example, to go up, you hit up on the left stick, but this can be counter-intuitive when going up and down stairs, depending on which way Anne is facing. The jumping mechanic is also a little loose, making some jumps harder than they should be. This can be tedious at times since this game doesn�??t pretend to be a hard-core platformer. The clunky controls really stick out when you get stuck somewhere because the controls don't react quickly enough, especially in a game that's more about story than gameplay.

Throughout the story, you will be faced with decisions, sometimes difficult ones. Anne always has two options �?? a softer, non-violent option or the harder, �??let�??s distill �??em!�?� option. As the primary enforcer of Master Bonku�??s will, it�??s up to you whether Anne treats the forgotlings as �??just things�?� like Master Bonku instructs or as the living things that they now are. Master Bonku is hard at work on the Ether Bridge and has only one section left for it to be complete. This bridge, when complete, will take us back to the Ether, the human world. Rebels, however, led by the charismatic Fig, are trying to stop the bridge for reasons unknown. The most compelling part of the game is pushing forward to unravel the mystery behind the rebels and Master Bonku. As with any good story, perhaps things aren�??t as they seem�?�

All in all, Forgotton Anne is a wonderfully cinematic, anime-style game that will remind you of the master studio that inspired it but still manages to stand on its own two feet as a very enjoyable game. Except for the occasional frustration of the clunky controls, the game is an appealing journey through a world bright with life yet plagued by an underlying darkness that you can feel as you travel through it and uncover its secrets.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

Release Date: May 15, 2018
Platform: Xbox One and PS4

Written by B1ueSeptember

cnirvana 15 May 2018 20:18:30

Sounds good! Looks like one I'll definitely be getting first time it goes on sale :-) Great review!

B1ueSeptember 16 May 2018 23:00:04

Thanks a lot! :) I've enjoyed this one.
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