Forgotton Anne is a strikingly beautiful 2D, hand-animated, cinematic game by developer Throughline Games and I couldn’t get enough of it at EGX in the Square Enix Collective section. Playing the fifteen-minute demo made me feel like I’d temporarily become a character in a Studio Ghibli film and that hopefully there’d be a happy ending despite the bleak rain and seemingly ominous darkness.
You play as the titular Anne, an Enforcer in a place called the Forgotten Realm, with the ability to manipulate objects by harnessing Anima energy. Anne must work with Master Bonku to find a way back to our world. In the process, she must solve puzzles and interact with Forgotlings, some of whom are in rebellion. Forgotlings seem to be items from our world that were once loved and then forgotten, but somehow ended up in the same realm as Anne, apparently gaining consciousness in the process.
The gameplay involves lots of side-scrolling as you explore rooms and exit buildings, jump and eventually fly (once you get your wings) in a dark, steampunk-inspired cityscape. Your dialogue choices influence the game’s turnout; what’s interesting is how you’re told that things could have turned out very differently, but only at the end of the conversation. In the demo, I killed a scarf by draining its life energy. I felt terrible, knowing that the conversation could have ended more humanely.
It’s a mystery how these two humans, Anne and Master Bonku, ended up in the Forgotten Realm, and why some rebel Forgotlings are trying to stop them from leaving. Is Master Bonku hiding a secret? Will they be able to get back to our world? What will happen to all the Forgotlings?
I can’t wait to find out once the game is released in 2018.