Foregone from the folks over at Big Blue Bubble over in Canada is a 2D action platformer with pixel art, sounds great, but is it?
Being the age I am means I grew up playing 2D action games, they form the majority of my early gaming memories. I was seldom very good at them, but having said that, this is from the era of all sorts of shenanigans such as the now legendary ‘The Lion King’ game on Mega Drive which was impossible to beat if you were playing a rental copy (which I was) by design of those sneaky developers.
Anyway, I digress, back to Foregone. I went into this review completely blind (I’d seen nothing of the game before it landed on my ‘desk’)My initial impression when I first booted up the game was one of awe as the incredible artwork of the loading screen popped up. I was blown away and it was clear that style was going to be at the forefront of this title. My love of the art style continued and the games main menu as the player character appeared.
However, the main character model known as the Arbiter is made to look retro remind us of the good old retro days but because it’s been rendered on to a 3D character model it looks “off” and wasn’t enjoyable to look at. This clashes more the game’s beautiful backgrounds and is an artistic choice I don’t understand. While this isn’t the end of the world it seems oddly disjointed given the initial imagery you’re greeted by. I’ve nothing against pixel art and as I’ve said the backgrounds were stunning, but the way the characters seem to clash agains’t them was at times distracting.
As far as gameplay is concerned, at let’s face it kids, that’s what’s counts, Forgone is tightly made and precisely so. It’s paced well as you progress through the game world and you’ll be seeing the same parts of this world a lot given some of the games core mechanics but more on that shortly. Combat is split into melee and ranged with an impressively sized arsenal of weapons, most of which you’ll pick up from fallen foes. Weapons have base stats and many can be upgraded, you also find armour and accessories this can also be upgraded just as the Arbiter (yes, my mind went to Halo, you knew it would of) can be. My favourite weapon had to be the ‘Gunchucks’ and yes, they are exactly what you imagine, I seldom used them though as they weren’t as effective as the daggers i’d found, the rule of cool only goes so far, DPS is DPS after all.
Foregone features two types of currency (no micro-transactions), one unlocks upgrades and the other new character abilities, if you die the currency you’ve collected will be dropped at your now dead feet, if you manage to survive and battle your way to your point of demise you can recover the currency you’ve lost ( that mechanic sound familiar?) although in a nice twist the game features The Ferryman who’ll return half of your current loot. Recovering your loot is where seeing the same areas of the game comes in, you’ll die, respawn at the Outpost, which is where you level up skills and upgrade weapons. Now, if you’ve progressed passed a checkpoint in the area you were battling in you can simply teleport back to said checkpoint, if you haven’t you’ll have to teleport as close as you can and battle the now respawned foes between you and your corpse.
Now, narrative is why I game, I’m a sucker for a good story, Foregone is set in a wartorn world of almost apocalyptical proportions. The game begins with you making your way right across this shattered would before a Druid looking chap is consumed by some sort of malady and casts you back in time. The Arbiter awakens and assumes it was naught more than a dream. You then spend some time working your way towards this doom that you must avert.
If I’m being entirely honest, the story utterly failed to interest me, if it wasn’t for the silky smooth gameplay I’d of stopped playing Foregone after about an hour to be entirely honest. Even then I struggled to really become engaged with the game as while everything it does well, nothing about what Forgone does feels new. It’s smooth and stylish but feels like a pastiche of modern gaming mechanics that was given a ‘retro’ visual styling in an attempt to make it more appealing.
While stylish, Foregone felt uninspired. While technically sound it failed to grab my attention let alone hold it.
A review code was provided by Big Blue Bubble.