App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Note: This game is free-to-start and asks for $9.99 to unlock the full game. The video above covers the free section of the game.
If Forgotton Anne was an animated movie, it would be more Cats Don’t Dance than Hercules. What I mean by this is Forgotton Anne—though gorgeously rendered—makes a lot of highly-specific choices about its world and characters that limit its appeal. As a game though, this really works in its favor, at least for most of the experience.
Forgotton Anne imagines a parallel universe populated by all the forgotten objects of our world. These include things like socks, antiques, hats, lightbulbs, and more. In this world, these objects (known as Forgotlings) live in mysterious squalor, which has caused some to try and build a pathway back to the real world.
You play as Anne, a human girl who operates as The Enforcer in this society of discarded objects. Your job is to keep the peace and help your master, Bonku, complete his work on the Ether Bridge so that all the Forgotlings in this world can return to their owners. The game begins when Anne is awoken after an attack by Forgotlings who are actively resisting the building of the Ether Bridge.
Anne’s encounter with the Forgotling resistance sends her on an adventure that causes her to question her role as an enforcer and consider the ramifications of building the Ether Bridge. You control Anne through all of this in what is best described as a hybrid adventure/puzzle game. Most of the experience involves you traversing environments via some light platforming, puzzle-solving, and character interaction.
None of the gameplay is particularly groundbreaking, but the way it’s presented certainly is. Forgotton Anne truly looks like you’re playing a 2D animated movie. It’s also fully voice-acted and packed with interesting environments, colorful characters, and beautifully detailed animations. These things combine to make an experience that is oddly propulsive.
Forgot to finish
Forgotton Anne is much more about enjoying its world, characters, and animation, and nothing highlights this more than when you get stuck in the game. It doesn’t happen often, but on one or two occasions, Forgotton Anne’s gameplay tries to up its mechanical complexity, and it bogs everything down.
Forgotton Anne just isn’t built for complicated actions. This is a game that heavily prioritizes animation, which makes doing even the simplest actions feel clunky and slow. Upping the challenge just exacerbates this problem. It also doesn’t help that there was one puzzle in particular that bugged out on me during my playthrough.
Even if you can manage Forgotton Anne’s sluggish controls just fine, it’s also worth noting that the game has a hard time closing out its story. This is true in both an artistic and technical sense. While the game sends you toward a resolution that both overexplains and cheapens everything that came before it, there are also sections at the end of the game where the voice acting doesn’t play, forcing you to read subtitles in silence.
The bottom line
Although it doesn’t end in an especially satisfying way, I still really enjoyed my time with Forgotton Anne. It builds a really cool world and animates it beautifully. It even contains quite a few touching character moments and explores interesting ideas. These things are rare in games, particularly on the App Store, so its flaws are worth looking past.