Forgotton Anne is a stunning 2D adventure game that evokes nostalgic old-school anime films and dark fairy tales. Indie developer ThroughLine Games partnered with Square Enix Collective to publish its debut effort, and it will be out on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on May 15.
The immediate comparison to make is to Studio Ghibli movies like Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, and the studio cites Satoshi Kon (Paprika), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth as points of inspiration as well. Forgotton Anne has more in common with these films than just its aesthetic — its heroes Anne and Master Bonku are trapped in the Forgotten Realm, which is full of quirky creatures called Forgotlings. These are lost objects that have been left behind by their owners, like socks and throw pillows.
As players join them on their quest to get home, they’ll encounter environmental puzzles that will require some platforming, along with branching dialogue with the characters they encounter. Anne is also able to manipulate Anima, which is the Forgotten Realm’s main source of energy. Impressively, all the gameplay — not just the cut scenes — is rendered in a beautiful cartoon style, hand-crafted by ThoroughLine’s in-house animators and artists.
Forgotton Anne garnered support from Square Enix Collective, the major publisher and developer’s program to support indies. That initiative has released titles like Cardboard Utopia’s RPG Children of the Zodiarcs and Sushee’s tactical adventure Fear Effect Sedna.