A sock carelessly forgotten under the bed - that is how Forgotton Anne's unforgettable story begins. The world is a busy place and we lose possessions all the time, but what happens to those things? That shoe you saw in the middle of the road that isn't there the next time you walk by? Let me introduce you to The Realm.
The Realm is a place where lost or forgotten things go. Here they gain sentience and as with all intelligent life there is conflict - some are pleased with their newfound freedom, some want to return to their owners and to the Realm world, here called The Ether. Among all the chairs, blankets and CRT monitors are two humans: a young woman named Anne and the elder man who raised her called Bunko.
In his years trapped in The Realm Bunko has devised a way to return to The Ether. To accomplish this he has employed the various Forgotlings to work on his Ether Bridge, and those who help in the construction are given validation stickers entitling them to a trip back in to The Ether and a return to their owners. This endeavour does not go unopposed, though, and Anne fills in the role of Enforcer.
She is armed with a tool called The Arca, a glove-like device that can hold and manipulate Anima - the source of all power and life in The Realm. it's primarily used for solving puzzles in the game, but it can also be used to drain the life out of a Forgotling if she is forced to go that far.
Anne's journey begins after a group of Rebels, Forgotlings against the idea of returning to the Ether, bomb parts of the facility where the Ether Bridge is being built. Anne gives chase and soon finds herself in murky waters when her beliefs about herself, Bunko and the nature of the Ether Bridge are challenged by the mysterious Mr. Fig.
What follows is a wild ride through beautiful painted environments and meetings with a wide spectrum of interesting characters. Throughline Games have crafted a 2D narrative puzzler that also has some sublime art direction. The art style, for me, is reminiscent of the great animated shows of the 80's and 90's that were a collaboration between French and Japanese studios, collaborations that gave us Tintin, The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors. Character animations are loaded with small details that bring them to life, this coupled with excellent voice acting make some emotional moments hit harder than you'd expect.
Gameplay can feel a little stiff at first when getting used to Anne's movement, but once you get the hang of it manoeuvring her through the city becomes a joy. There is a lot of exploring to do as you platform through the various environments. Using Anne's Arca to solve puzzles feels natural and works almost flawlessly. There were a few instances where the puzzles bugged out because they relied on the game's physics and didn't trigger as expected, but luckily there is a forgiving checkpoint system in place to load from.
I had high hopes for this one going in. After playing it a few years ago at EGX 2016 I was both impressed and a little sceptical of the developer's ability to maintain the sense of wonder the visuals provoked within me. I am happy to report that the game is wonderful from opening to close with excellent classical pacing for the story with superb twists. I highly recommend this to fans of platformers, story-based games and especially hand-drawn animation. Forgotton Anne
's charm is something i will remember for a long time.
+ Stunning artstyle that captivates from beginning to end
+ Excellently-paced story that will having you feeling things for discarded household objects
+ Great voice acting
+ Fun puzzles and platforming mechanics
+ Excellent animation from Anne to the Forgotling's brilliant touches that make them feel alive.
- There were a few puzzle based glitches
SPOnG Score: 9/10