Forgotton Anne Review

Richard Walker

Boasting a charming hand-drawn anime art style, Forgotton Anne is an attractive side-scrolling puzzle platformer clearly inspired by Studio Ghibli. You need only give it a cursory glance to see that it's pretty, but what sets it apart from the countless other indie platformers out there? Quite a few things, as it happens. Firstly, there's the narrative, which (bear with us here) tells the tale of Anne (obviously) and a world of 'Forgotlings': everyday items lost by humans that have found their way into the Forgotton Lands that you inhabit.

To co-exist with Anne and her father figure Master Bonku who's appointed her the realm's Enforcer, Forgotlings must be verified, wearing green stickers that mark them as such. Eventually, the Forgotlings – discarded socks, shoes, blankets, umbrellas, radios, toasters, cameras and such – all hope to return home to 'the Ether'. But there's a rebellion going on, and non-verified Forgotlings are planning to rise up and sabotage Bonku's Ether Bridge that aims to transport him and Anne back to the real world, destroying the Forgotton Realm in the process. With us? Got it? It's all a bit weird, yes.

Yet, what follows is a lovingly animated adventure with a smattering of dialogue choices and branching storyline moments, as Anne interacts with the various Forgotlings she encounters during her journey, some of which she can distill (destroy, basically) using the Arca gadget strapped to her wrist. Anne, as the Forgotton Realm's Enforcer wields the ability to distill the personified lost items that live within this hidden realm, or alternatively spare them and send them to the workshop for back-breaking labour instead. The Arca is also used to power various contraptions or adjust the flow of Anima energy flowing through the world's network of pipes, Anima energy being the lifeblood of the Forgotton Lands. These elements provide the crux of the game's puzzles.

As you progress, you'll also acquire a set of wings created by Bonku to aid you in your platform jumping quest, enabling you to leap higher and further. Despite Forgotton Anne's retractable wings, however, the game's platforming can be rather frustrating at times, normally when you're tasked with scaling a vertical sequence of platforms, one missed precipice leading to a long, infuriating drop back to the bottom. Certain sections require timing your jumps to moving platforms or using the Arca to activate a lift, then springing off it as it descends. These can prove fiddly at times, the animation occasionally being a little slow and laboured.

Nonetheless, there are some pretty smart puzzles in Forgotton Anne, though few will manage to stretch your grey matter too much. Most involve timing, ensuring your Arca is charged with Anima energy (without it, you can't move Anima pipe junctions, use your wings or power Anima batteries) or judicious fiddling with pipes that can be seen through scenery using your Arca vision. There are levers and buttons too, door puzzles involving moving nodes into a correct configuration, and certain junctures where you'll fulfil your duties as Enforcer, interrogating Forgotlings as you attempt to weed out rebels.

Forgotton Anne is a fairly interesting game then, filled with personality, and marred only by rare instances where jumping and climbing isn't quite as precise as it could be. But with well-designed, hand-painted levels and an intriguing storyline that questions our attachment to ephemeral, material things, Forgotton Anne is something quite special, the choices you make during its 6-7 hour narrative carrying a degree of weight too, leading to divergent paths and ultimately a unique ending. The journey to get there proves quite unforgettable too, and as such, Forgotton Anne is well worth discovering.

Forgotton Anne

A nice surprise, Forgotton Anne is an endearing anime-style platformer that doesn't deserve to go to landfill.

Form widget
75%
Audio
70%

A suitably magical soundtrack and strong voice acting throughout, Forgotton Anne sounds lovely...

Visuals
80%

...but it looks far nicer. The handcrafted Studio Ghibli-esque art style is superb, and about as close as you can get to playing a proper anime (apart from all those Dragon Ball games and that).

Playability
75%

Neat puzzle mechanics, patchy, but mostly robust platforming, and a nice MacGuffin in Anne's Arca gadget make Forgotton Anne an enjoyable experience, save for the odd frustration here and there.

Delivery
75%

A fairly generously proportioned game, a lot of effort has clearly gone into Forgotton Anne. And once the credits roll, you're free to explore its enchanting world, traveling to previous areas to scoop missed collectibles and experiment with different choices.

Achievements
60%

Only the collectibles are available to see on Forgotton Anne's list. The rest of the game's achievements are hidden, so you'll have to work them out for yourself from the descriptions. Spoiler: there's one for completing the game. The rest seem fine.

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