Indie Review: Forget Me Not Annie
Forget Me Not Annie is an interesting new take on the puzzle genre by mixing psychological horror elements and supernatural scenarios. The game was created by a group of Canadian students as their project with Brandon Dolinski, completed while he was in Vancouver Film School. What's the verdict?
- Worth The Time?Yes, absolutely, and it is free after all.
- Things LovedThe unique puzzle solving mechanics and game concept, the great graphics, the atmosphere is awesome, the narrative is solid and compelling, the voice acting and audio is really good, it's very creepy.
- Things HatedIt's far too short and it ends as you start really getting into it, there are a few bugs, the narrative can be predictable towards the end, the menus.
- RecommendationIf you like your games creepy and suspenseful, with complexity taking a bit of a backseat to atmosphere and narrative, then this is the right one for you. It's also free, so unless you've got cap limitations, why not?
- Name: Forget Me Not Annie
- Genre: First Person Puzzle Platformer, Psychological Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Brandon Dolinski And Co
- Publisher: Brandon Dolinski
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
Forget Me Not Annie is an interesting and fresh take on the puzzle genre, as it blends psychological horror and a chilling atmosphere with supernatural puzzle solving elements. The game was created by a group of Canadian students as their project in collaboration with Brandon Dolinski, who is the project manager, and it was completed while he was in Vancouver Film School. The game is available as a free download, so that’s already reason to want to play it. The game is about a rather troubled child by the name of Annie, who carries with her a teddy bear called Howard. She’s lonely and in a psychiatric ward of sorts for reasons unknown, with Howard as her only friend. Except, he’s not cute and cuddly, and she sees a lot more in him than merely a stuffed animal. The game takes you through Annie’s surreal nightmares, and I won’t say more out of fear of giving away too much. I’ll just say that the narrative is one of the best parts of the game, and a huge reason as to why it’s such a compelling experience.
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The gameplay is quite unique, and it incorporates some supernatural elements to spice it up. You’re able to jump using the space bar, and move objects in the environment using telekinesis, activated with a left click, and remember that Annie isn’t exactly normal in her head, so rather experience the game than raise your eyebrows over it. You’ll hold the left mouse button to keep the object suspended in the air, and use the mouse wheel to move it back and forth. The game’s main mechanic involves the use of Howard. You’re able to summon him at any time using the right mouse button. You can use telekinesis to get him to places out of your reach, and then, the neat trick is that at the push of a button you can swap positions with him, almost like a body swap. These features give the game some very interesting puzzle solving scenarios, and the fact that Howard displays some livelihood when summoned just adds to the creepiness of the game. That’s the gameplay in a nutshell. For the most part you’ll deal with simple logic puzzles, but they’re really cool because of the unique concept.
However, Forget Me Not Annie is about a lot more than just its unique gameplay elements. For one, it has a fantastic atmosphere, thanks to its sinister tone, great graphics, intriguing level design and wonderfully freaky audio work and voice acting. There’s hardly a dull or quiet moment. A lot of effort went into the sound and background noise to give the game personality, and it definitely paid off as far as I’m concerned. The game is very uninviting, and while it won’t scare the pants off you like Slender Man would, it’s chilling, freaky and disturbingly compelling. This is largely due to the great narrative, which despite getting a little bit predictable towards the end, is presented and told really well the whole way through, and is backed up by the good voice acting. It’s very interesting to see the story progress with each step taken, and this is made even better by various collectibles scattered around levels that add intriguing story dialogue to the game, giving it more back story and the narrative more meat.
Unfortunately, for everything there is to like about Forget Me Not Annie, the biggest issue with it is that it’s extremely short and is something you’ll only go through once. Yes, it’s a great experience, but it’s over far too quickly, and actually ends at a time when you don’t want it to. You’re just getting deeply engrossed in the narrative, and the puzzles just start picking up in complexity, and that’s when the curtain closes. It ends as it’s building up to something great, and while I can understand that the length is a result of this game being made as a University project and there are restrictions and constraints in that, it’s just a bit disappointing. The ending itself is conclusive in terms of solving the mystery of what’s going on, but it leaves things a bit open-ended, which makes the game feel a bit incomplete. It’s unfortunate, because I was just starting to feel like I’d stumbled across a gem in this genre.
There are some other issues and talking points, but they’re relatively minor. One is the menu interface, which isn’t that nice to look at due to it being a bit underdeveloped and not nearly of the same standard as the visual and audio work in-game. Another issue is that of bugs, as I encountered one or two while playing. I got stuck a few times on this piece of wall you need to jump onto, but a simple body swap with Howard got me out of this mess, and it didn’t happen again when I aimed away from that spot. I also got trapped once in one section, unfortunately with Howard so I couldn’t get out, but this was due to an error on my part and it wasn’t such a big deal as I just went to the main menu, selected the appropriate sequence and I was back to where I was in a minute or two. The last talking point is that the game also includes a small achievements list, and while they don’t really do much and aren’t really constant in the game, they’re a nice touch and you can chase after them all if you are that type of player.
Forget Me Not Annie a compelling experience that you should try to play because of its amazing atmosphere, intriguing narrative and unique gameplay concept. If you can make the download, and you want something engrossing and suspenseful, then this is a great way to kill thirty or so minutes. It’s just a pity that it’s so short, as it could have been a great game if it was complete. Still, in its current state it’s definitely worth playing, and there’s a lot to appreciate in experiencing what it has to offer.