You could say that the 2D platforming genre has become a little stale as a myriad of titles release every week hoping to replicate the experiences you remember from 20 years ago, but Forgotton Anne does things differently. A 2D side-scrolling platformer it is indeed, but with a stunning visual art style, surprising mechanics, and an intriguing storyline, this is one you need to be looking out for come the end of the year.
Probably the most striking thing about Forgotton Anne is its presentation, which continued to impress us throughout our 20 minute demo. The animated graphics are rendered beautifully as they help to really make colours pop inside Anne's home, as well as convey the dreary nature of the spirit world outside of the windowpanes as rain lashes down. And alongside seamless transitions between gameplay and cutscenes, no matter whether you're the one controlling or sitting back and enjoying some story exposition, you're guaranteed to be observing a spectacle.
But this is far more than just a very pretty picture, as interesting mechanics build upon the core gameplay to make ThroughLine Games' debut title a unique one. Of course there's the traditional navigation and light platforming sections across the 2.5D plain, but puzzles are given a new twist thanks to the presence of Anima. A sort of energy that Anne can suck up through a device attached to her wrist, she can then use this to power broken machinery and forge paths to her destination. It puts a neat spin on things and helps to make the world a whole lot more magical.
But the thing that surprised us the most throughout our time with Forgotton Anne came two thirds of the way through, as we got our hands on a set of wings. This effectively doubles the height of your jump and gives it a slight glide on the way back down, meaning harder to reach places were now a thing of the past. Boosting through the air was a joy to experience as the handling feels precise, and thanks to a few specific jumps, we managed to get our hands on the first collectable of the game. All in all, the gameplay feels slick, responsive, and an absolute ton of fun.
While story beats were understandably light during the demo, there were hints as to what could unfold. The spirit world is a place where forgotten toys and objects go, with the land governed by Forgotlings who are amalgamations of those possessions long since misplaced. Anne, the main character, is the main peacekeeper of the land and it's her job to squash a rebellion that threatens her chance to return to the world of the living. A simple dialogue tree complements the plot as you interact with characters, which could hint at this tale going more than one way upon its conclusion.
If the full game is anything like this vertical slice of Forgotton Anne, then we have quite a special experience on our hands. The animated art style is stunning, the gameplay continued to surprise us with new mechanics introduced again and again, and an intriguing storyline looks like it will bring this all together into a fascinating tale.
Has Forgotton Anne's visual style caught your eye? How do you think this tale will turn out? Correctly spell the title in the comments below.