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hogso

Forgotton Anne

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Tldr; play this

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It's quite hard to describe this game. The majority of the gameplay is in the form of a 2d platformer, but it's definitely not a platformer. There are some light puzzles (at least that I've seen thus far), and lots of 'moral decision' type choices to make that affect outcomes of scenes and such. I don't know how much of a difference they make in real terms, if the game has multiple endings for example (at this point I'd rather not know! The mystery of everything so far is refreshing to say the least), but the game does alert you to missed opportunities. There's some collectable stuff as well. 

The tone is the most interesting aspect for me. In short, the concept of the story and world is you playing the role of Anne, an 'enforcer', and one of only two humans, apparently, that inhabit this realm. A realm which is the place where everything lost in our world is sent - but once they reach this place, they gain a voice, a mind, and are fully anthropomorphised. Upon arrival, the good stuff (fancy tables, for example) are given good jobs, and the not so good (an odd sock) are simply sent to the factory to work. It's also not clear at all at the start of the game why you're doing what you're doing, to the point that, well, you're almost certainly 'the bad guy'. 

This is all animated in a Ghibli-esque fashion, but to me, the animation is western in style, rather than overtly eastern. There's lots of grimey industrial imagery, and although I couldn't describe it as steampunk, there's that fantasy/gritty realism to it. 

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It's important to point out that all of this is played out completely without humour, and is all taken very seriously. Without delving into the story too deeply, this is an adult story, with adult themes, and that in and of itself makes this an interesting game worth some time. When it's a story with this mix of style and originality, though, it really demands attention, I think. It's completely unlike anything I've played before. Weirdly the thing it reminds me of most is The Brave Little Toaster, for the simple fact that completely ordinary household objects suddenly have very specific personalities, and fears, and hopes, and agendas. There's something quite magic in that, a reason why to this day I still love the Toy Story movies - but in Forgotton Anne, there's something much, much darker going on than some Toys trying to get home to their owner. 

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There's a little known anime series called Narutaru (Shadow Star) which has an incredibly twee opening. Some kids have these monster things that they can kinda control. It's a bit like pokemon. At first glance it seems all sweetness and light, but there's a growing uneasyness rumbling along, and quite suddenly, you're confronted by some utterly horrific content. There's not much like it. Sure, there are series like Higurashi which are twee and then wham, here's some gore. But that's it's usp. In Narutaru, that's not the case, you could shut your eyes and cover your ears and ignore the horrid stuff and carry on, but with an uneasiness that you're not fully comprehending. 

I have a similar feeling when playing Forgotton Anne, and it's very rare, in most mediums. Some authors are great at it, but I don't experience it often with movies or games. I think that's one of the biggest reasons this game has grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and refused to let go in a very short space of time. 

It's not perfect. The art looks nice from a distance, but when the screen zooms in on something it starts to look a bit shoddy,and it likes to do that frequently. The story may not interest some at all, and might just come off as a bit too weird for some. And none of the gameplay elements are anything you haven't seen before, or done better. 

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The voice acting is great too, actually, as is the full orchestral score. I'm not familiar with the devs, but from what I can gather, they're a 15 person team based in Copenhagen. There are a few occasions when the low budget is apparent, but boy, what an achievement. I haven't played anything that's struck me as much as this since Life is Strange ep 1, what, 3 and a half years ago?

Highly recommended. 

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22 minutes ago, alreadyexists said:

Forgotten

Forgotton*

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Nope, it's the video game spelling 

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