September 17th, 2012 | By Alex Wilkinson
Forget Me Not Annie may of been released a few weeks back but it contains an interesting take on the puzzle genre, achieved by throwing in psychological horror elements over the top of the usual puzzles and does not disappoint. Forget Me Not Annie is the warped tale of the heroine, a child named Annie with her trusty companion Howard (her stuffed bear) having to navigate around this surreal nightmare. Forget Me Not Annie was created by a group of Canadian students as their project with Brandon Dolinski (project manager) carried out whilst in Vancouver Film School and is available for free.
The gameplay is a very interesting take on puzzle games using telekinetic powers to manipulate objects allowing you to move various objects only using the power of your mind… and the scroll wheel of course. The main gimmick in Forget Me Not Annie is the use of Howard, as you are able to summon him on command and move him to places normally inaccessible by you before switching places with him to solve puzzles in an interesting manner resembling portal a little.
The sinister tone and level design is very good in creating this brooding gothic horror setting that really brings you into the game setting very well. The level design has been crafted to really bring out the horror side of this game, include classic horror settings such as a hospital and a dungeon. Sure they are both cliché settings but that is because they are great areas to set horror and they are pulled off really nicely here. Although the actual horror is quite sparse and largely is jumpy horror elements there is a really great narrative with a lot of sinister revelations in it underpinning Forget Me Not Annie.
The team seems to have spent a lot of time on the sounds with a great deal of ambient noise in the background, all adding a great deal to the games overall. In games like this that are meant to instil fear and that feeling of a creepy atmosphere which I believe is carried out successfully here.
What I did enjoy the most about this game was the narrative as it was a well put together story even though very predictable from early in the game, I didn’t really feel it detracts from the enjoyment in this psychological horror game overall. It is interesting to see the story develop especially via collectables in the game that give a much broader idea of what is actually going on, engrossing you ever deeper into the story.
Although the current ending is a little disappointing as it still leaves the game wide open, it is true that the game was ended prematurely due to time constrains and the likes of the University project, however it does feel incomplete just going off the ending given. There is what seems to be a tech demo that can be played after the game concludes but it was not really developed fully so is very raw.
As this was a game created as a University project there was always going to be points letting in down with the main one in my eyes being the length, it was criminally short for a puzzler. Of course it is easy to see why as there has been a great deal of time put into the stunning visuals and creating these different stages is a great deal of work in itself, so additional work would’ve really ballooned the project overall. Just I felt the game finished before it really started to get into its stride which was a little disappointing.
The menu was very basic and the interface overall was a little bit under produced alongside the controls being fixed to set buttons, which is not a huge problem but is a little inconvenient. The implementation of the achievements was a nice touch to the game, though they were not persistent which was a little disappointing but it showed they had at least considered implantation of achievements.
All these little problems I found to not detract from the enjoyment of playing through Forget Me Not Annie. It is a title well worth playing especially as it is free and with a completion time of around 30 minutes there is very little reason why you should not pick it up.
Forget Me Not Annie can be downloaded here. Forget Me Not Annie shows great promise from Brandon Dolinski and his crew and I hope we see future projects from him, my only hope is his next title is a bit more of a fuller title. Brandon Dolinski’s website can be found here and contains information about Forget Me Not Annie along with his future projects.