Ever wondered what happened to that umbrella you left on the train? Or perhaps the scarf you dropped when running for a bus? You probably think it was taken by someone and passed onto a charity shop and thought nothing more of it. You forgot about it and moved on with your life.
Well, what if I told you that objects only exist if you remember them? If you forget them then they cease to be and become forgotten. When they do, they enter another realm, one that is inhabited by things that have been forgotten and they become Forgotlings. This is the world in which Forgotten Anne is set - a place that exists because we forgot about it. It's a tricky thing to get your head around and ThroughLine Games has attempted to explain this concept through a game that is both compelling and wondrous to look at.
This isn't the first time I had encountered Forgotten Anne but this is the first time I played it at Indie Mixer, a showcase of indie games that was also an opportunity to sample a few cocktails. I decided to forgo the drinks as I was keen to experience the games there in a fully conscious and sober state. I was thankful that I did as Forgotten Anne is a very odd game that no inebriated person should be anywhere near.
As explained above, Forgotten Anne takes place in a world formed from forgotten things and Anne, the main protagonist is living here for reasons that are far from obvious. Is she forgotten herself? If so why is she in this place? How can a sentient being forget who they are to the point of vanishing from our reality? All of these questions become muddled with the other more pressing query of why Anne acts so dismissively to the Forgotlings in this world. For yes, not only are these objects forgotten but they also gain sentience once they enter this realm. So that scarf you dropped while running for a bus is now a living thing that Anne interacts with.
At its heart, Forgotten Anne is a 2D puzzle platformer that requires the player to use the special powers Anne has (thanks to a bracelet that she operates) to gather energy that the Fogotlings rely upon to become animated. Without it, they return to their inanimate state that they once were in upon entering the forgotten realm.
This gives the player a choice as to whether or not to take the energy from these beings for Anne's own gain. Anne is not the only human in this world as she shares it with Bonku, a man she refers to as her 'master'. Both of them are committed to doing their utmost to return to our realm.
They are so determined to do so that they will do anything to get back to the lives they have lost, even at the expense of the Forgotlings. This has led to many of them rebelling against Anne and Bonku to the point where Forgotten Anne opens with a sabotage event happening within their residence.
As you'll notice I'm spending a lot of time on the story for Forgotten Anne in this preview. That's quite deliberate, as it is this more than anything that separates it from the myriad of other puzzle platforming games out there. It's the thing that drives you on as the more you explore the more questions are raised and that more than anything pushes the player along to complete it.
Forgotten Anne is presented using cartoon-like animations in a similar style to Studio Ghibli, only with a mite less anime influence thanks to its Western origins. The voice acting is really well done and that's important for such a story-laden title like this.
Forgotten Anne is due to arrive on PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC and Mac sometime in 2018.