Forgotton Anne in the test - homecoming with obstacles

Author: Florian Zandt
Date: 2018-05-11 13:00:00
Chihiro, Mononoke, Nausicaä, Anne. Like the films of their source of inspiration, Studio Ghibli, Throughline Games rely on a strong female protagonist in their 2D adventure with jump & run elements, who undergoes significant development on her journey.

Because the world in which you let the eponymous heroine master jump & run passages and solve switch and environmental puzzles is populated by so-called »forgotten« people. The only difference is that there are no lifeless objects, but characters with their own personality - which is a big problem for Anne, who is responsible for the safety of the game world as the guardian of the game world, and her master Bonku.

Viva la revolución

While Bonku is working on the ether bridge , which is supposed to bring all forgotten people back into the real world and back to their owners, some anthropomorphic objects revolt against this foreign control. They sabotage the infrastructure of the nameless city and the tower in which Anne and Bonku have made their homes. In the skin of Anne, you first pursue the rebels under their leader Mr. Fig, a living tailor's dummy, in order to bring them to justice.

In a relatively predictable twist after about a third of the season, however, Forgotton Anne reveals another possible interpretation of the rebels' motivation. Because in their own world things can realize themselves, while the real world, called "ether" in the game. would rob objects of their soul .

It is this fleeting energy that breathes life into the forgotten that fuels your main tool in the game: the arca glove . If Anne's Arca is filled with the so-called anima, you can, for example, use her fold-out wings to master particularly difficult jumps.

You can only solve the environmental puzzles, which mostly revolve around flipping switches and manipulating energy valves or the correct arrangement of movable balls in a mural, when the Arca glove is fully charged.

A fairytale walk

Fortunately, the next full cylinder, from which you can tap the valuable resource with a click of the mouse, is never far. In any case, Forgotton Anne does not set out to annoy players through dead ends. All puzzles can be solved without time limit , and if you miss the jump to the rescue edge by a few millimeters thanks to the slightly fiddly controls, there is guaranteed to be a ladder in the immediate vicinity that will bring you safely back to the jump point.

If you're not hopping from balcony to balcony or distributing anima back and forth between valves and generators, the adventure gives you plenty of air to explore the world. The city in which you move is dark and rainy, but pleases the player's eye with cleverly placed splashes of color and light effects. That is why the graphic implementation is one of the highlights of the game.

The atmospheric alternation between light and shadow, the color palette, the many small things that play out in the background and between the lines: all of this contributes significantly to the engaging atmosphere of Forgotton Anne. In environments such as the run-down theater, the rebel headquarters in the sewer system or the dirty scrappers bar, where forgotten people play poker for anima and drink energy cocktails, an almost film noir feeling emerges - an interesting contrast to actually quite good cheerful, lively basic tenor.

A shoe with character

This is particularly evident in the different characters you meet on your journey. Because even the apparent villains like Mr. Fig are so exaggerated that in places they almost seem like parodies of themselves . However, you should not dismiss the interaction with the inhabitants of the realm. Because almost every object has an interesting story to tell and has a depth of character that you would not expect at first.

There is, for example, Inspector Magnum, the speaking pistol that seeks respect and recognition at all costs and hides its own insecurity behind a gruff exterior. Or the Malone refrigerator, who works behind the bar but would have preferred to become a musician. Thanks to this well thought-out and multi-layered character design , the third gameplay pillar of the game gets even more weight.

Consumer criticism in an adventure guise

Because in Forgotton Anne it's not just actions that count, but also words . Again and again you have the opportunity to influence the course of the conversation in key scenes. For example, you can settle a dispute between forgotten people or let it escalate. Elsewhere, you can persuade or intimidate a captured rebel.

You may only choose between two possible answers in the corresponding situations, but these will influence the later course of the game . However, you will not get to see more than the two different endings, for which you can only decide relatively late; rather, your answers open up small ramifications at the root of the story, which remain completely optional.

In this case, however, this is hardly detrimental to the gaming experience, since the story of power, deception, self-realization and thoughtless consumption takes place in a relatively linear manner . The nuanced development that Anne goes through in it and the ending that is open almost to the very end also ensure that the charming 2D adventure should not end up on the pile of forgotten games.