By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on May 11, 2018
Welcome to The Forgotten Lands, a magical place where all things forgotten end up and live out their lives in peace and quiet... or so it would seem. Even in this seemingly tranquil world, there are those among the forgotten things, aptly named Forgotlings, who do not agree with the ideas of the ones in charge. That is why this world needs a strong person to keep things in check. That is why this world needs an enforcer. And that, dear readers is where you come in...
Forgotton Anne is a cinematic 2D platform game with, and I want to get this out of the way first, spectacular breathtaking visuals. Everything, from the smallest character to the largest set piece, is lovingly crafted and beautifully drawn. I think it is safe to say that Forgotton Anne is easily one of the most beautiful looking games in the genre. It reminds me of the high quality cartoons I used to watch when I was younger, in a time before power-levels became more important than visual quality.
The protagonist of this game is a young girl called Anna, who has lived in this world as long as she can remember. She was raised and trained as Enforcer by her mentor, Master Bonku, who is the supreme ruler of The Forgotten Lands. For years now, Master Bonku has been working on returning to the real world, or the Ether, as he calls it. In order to do so, he is constructing something called the Ether Bridge, a portal between worlds.
Now, as you may suspect, Bonku and Anne are not the only ones with the wish to return to the Ether, so selected Forgotlings can receive an Ether pass if they work real hard and are generally on their best behavior. It doesn't take long for some Forgotlings to start fearing that they'll never get such a pass, even if they do what they're supposed to, so a rebellion rears its ugly head. Rebels start attacking the government buildings and wreak havoc wherever they can. You, being the Enforcer, are tasked with stopping this rebellion dead in its tracks, and that is where our adventure begins.
In The Forgotten Lands, you'll meet a colorful cast of Forgotling characters. The beauty of this is that absolutely everything can be a character. A sock, a shoe, an old lamp, even a bookcase or a fuel pump. The most prized resource of this world is Anima, a magical source of energy that is used to power every single contraptions in the world. It even is the one thing that gives life to the Forgotlings. Because you are the Enforcer, you have a small device on your wrist called the Arca. With this device you can collect Anima stored in containers and use it once it is stored in your Arca. You can even drain Forgotlings of their Anima which is called "Distilling" in the Forgotten Lands, but you will have to have a damn good reason to before doing so.
Our adventure starts when rebels attack the Tower in which both Anne and Master Bonku live. After checking with Bonku to see if he's alright by means of an Anima-powered mirror, which makes it possible for people to see and talk to each other, Anne sets out to seek out the rebels and bring them to justice. Now, most Forgotlings who break the law are sent to the Plant; a place where they refine raw Anima into its useable form, as well as carry out construction for the Ether Bridge parts, but some individuals are just too dangerous and should be Distilled on sight.
The main gameplay is pretty straightforward, like you would expect from a platform game. You can run, jump, climb ladders and crawl into tight spaces. The really interesting things happen when Anima is involved. On one hand, Anne can use Anima to power a set of mechanical wings that Master Bonku has created for her. These wings enable Anne to jump higher or further and reach places she normally couldn't. But wait, that's not all! With a press of a button, Anne enters the Anima state. When this happens, the screen goes a blue greenish color and points of interest are highlighted. You can now use Anima, if you have any, to manipulate switches, valves and other mechanical doohickeys. The use of Anima this way is the part of the game in which you'll have to put your thinking cap on. Although the puzzles in Forgotton Anne are nowhere near impossible to solve, they do present a fun challenge and make a nice change of pace from the running and jumping about!
Our journey takes us over rooftops, through streets and alleys, and through a great number of buildings. I couldn't help noticing, again, that the level of attention to detail in every part of the world is astounding! It really feels like you are part of this mystical world and this gives you the incentive to leave the main streets and go exploring just that bit further. Trust me when I say that it is well worth it, too! During your adventure, you can collect mementos, which tell you a bit more about the world, or the characters living in it.
If I was hard-pressed to find a flaw in Forgotton Anne, I would have a really hard time. The only thing I did notice was that Anne's voice sounds soft and faraway at times, while the voices of the other characters are much louder and much more clear. Now, I don't know if this is something that happened to other people or that my headset is in dire need of a replacement, but it was in no way a game breaker.
This is the point where I sadly must stop talking about Forgotton Anne, because all that's left to tell is how the story unfolds and we don't want that, now do we?! Trust me, the story of Forgotton Anne is one you must experience for yourselves, not get it from a written review, because it is simply impossible to get across how awesomely intricate the story is put together and how well the characters fit this beautiful world.
I can only say that I loved every second I spent in The Forgotten Lands and had an absolute brilliant time with all the cool characters, beautiful artwork and simply enchanting soundtrack. If you're looking for hardcore-shooter action or massive multiplayer bollocks, then continue your search elsewhere. If, however, you are looking for a truly well-written story, amazing artwork, and brilliant characters, all blended into a really awesome platform / puzzle experience, then do yourself a HUUUUUGE favor and play Forgotton Anne. Trust me, you can't go wrong!