Forgotton Anne for Nintendo Switch
Forgotton Anne, from developer Throughline Games and published by Square Enix, is a heavily story-driven title all about making choices and the consequences your choices have. The world is filled with mystery and surprises, and for that reason you might find the proceedings as vague, but going in blindly is well worth it for this mystery game. It came out earlier this year on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but now you can enjoy it on the Nintendo Switch.
In Forgotton Anne, you play as this young woman named Anne and she lives in this magical world called The Forgotton Land. In this world everyday items are lost or forgotten in the human world, such as socks, old pictures, and household items, and they end up here with a personality. It’s in this mysterious world that Anne finds herself in the position of power with a grand conflict between the people of this world. She has to trust her judgment and hope that she knows the right thing to do and this brought me some internal conflict and guilt while playing Forgotton Anne.
While games like The Walking Dead or Life is Strange warn you when you’re going to do something that’s going to affect the overall narrative, Forgotton Anne goes for a more organic approach. Instead, it tells you afterwards and this often left me questioning what would and wouldn’t affect the narrative once the climax was finally reached. Forgotton Anne has a story that should stick with you and one that will make you want to play again as soon as you finish it. The story features a great cast of characters, each with their own unique quirks and personalities. This also includes the villains who actually have a reasoning for their way of thinking.
The gameplay for Forgotton Anne revolves around puzzle elements with some lite-platformer sections. at first glance, it looks like an old-school point-and-click adventure title and though it is an adventure game it feels much more like a casual platformer. Anne can walk, run, and jump, and that’s about all she can do in terms of movement. The rest of time time you’ll be interacting with the environment with the use of a device on her wrist that can activate switches and other platforms.
This nifty little device is how you’ll navigate almost all the puzzles in the area, including some of the platforming sections. The difficult of these puzzles were rarely challenging enough to get stumped for long and found a fine line between being too easy or frustrating. The most difficult puzzled included some resource management and being able to follow a flowchart of pipes. As you go through the story, Forgotton Anne is rather linear and easy to follow with only a few sections having you backtrack slightly.
Despite being linear though, it does reward curious players who are trying to explore more hidden off-the-beaten-path areas. Usually breaking away from the linear path rewards players with new characters that provide more details into the lore of the world and new perspectives on the conflict. Additionally, this is how you’ll also find objects called Mementos that add in more information to the world. They’re basically second narratives to the main story arc and this is where most of the post content and replay value come from. Once you finish your first adventure you’re encouraged to go back and try to find the remaining Mementos and choose different options in the second playthough.
Forgotton Anne is a heavily cinematic title that completely sells its story-driven gameplay. It features this hand drawn animation art style that makes the aesthetic look like an old-school Western cartoon and an anime. The cutscenes have a Studio Ghibli quality to them and you’ll be immediately struck by its beautiful graphical style. My only gripe with the art style was how it looked when zoomed in really close, as you could see blemishes in the lines around the characters. Outside of those moments, Forgotton Anne looks stunning with the introduction reminding me of the aforementioned Ghibli film quality with cinematic camera pans as the credits came on.
Voice acting is front-and-center in Forgotton Anne and they really do nail their parts. Everyone from the pistol with his brunt attitude, to the warm hearted blanket fit their personalities perfectly. The cast of characters have a vast variety of personalities that only get better sold off by the great voice acting.
The soundtrack features a heavy use of strings that hypes up this sense of dangerous curiosity. Created in collaboration with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, it does a solid job of conveying the dystopian machine background of the world. In fact, some of the music can feel downright intimidating and have a menacing flare really giving me an extra appreciation for the story. Sometimes the music wouldn’t transition very well between cutscenes and gameplay, and would just stop or cut-out which was odd. Those moments would break the immersion, but never really hindered the experience.
Overall, Forgotton Anne is a marvelous experience that will fill you with wonder, as much as it will fill you with guilt. It’ll test your moral compass and have you question what you think is right and wrong. The gameplay is adequate enough to keep you engaged and wanting to finish the puzzles quickly in order to get to the next story beat. Wrap this up in a charming art style with a fantastic fully-voiced cast of characters and you end up with a grand seven hour adventure that is highly recommended.
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Reviewed by Josh Brant on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Square Enix Collective.