HIGH Great background art.
LOW The bosses.
WTF That story basically came out of nowhere.
Foregone is Big Blue Bubble’s first stab at consoles, having cut their teeth on turn-based mobile titles and rhythm games. In this project, they’ve moved away from their comfort zone and tackled the metroidvania genre.
The player takes the role of the Arbiter, a super soldier, tasked with protecting the city of Calagan from an enemy called the Harrow. The opening level sets play in what seems to be the Arbiter’s memory of a past time, and that the Arbiter might be more involved in the future fall of the city than initially thought.
This opening segues into levels filled with beautifully rendered 2D art that the player must sidescroll through while jumping, slashing, and shooting through monsters. Along the way they’ll collect items and special powers, as well as gold and gems that can be used to upgrade said items and powers at a central hub.
Items come in the form of melee weapons, ranged weapons, armor and equipment. The powers are abilities such as a damaging dash, a shield, or mega-bomb. Beating bosses will provide traversal options like air dashes and wall climbs that can be used to revisit earlier areas and find secret upgrades.
In total, there are a lot of possible gear and a lot of possible combinations to play around with — it’s a situation that seems ripe for experimentation, but the problem is that the gameplay didn’t really encourage it.
For all the variety in tools, it was always best to follow the same pattern — use the highest DPS weapon, close the distance to enemies, dodge their attack and hit them from behind. Similarly, equipped powers are limited to two at a time. As the healing ability I used was always equipped — it feels essential given early fights deal a lot of damage — which meant I was only able to experiment with one slot.
Fortunately, a lack of changing things up wasn’t much of a problem because Foregone is a very easy game. In my entire playthrough I died a total of five times, and three of of those times were against bosses when I forgot to swap my offensive power for a shield power. There is a New Game+ feature where the player can use their leveled-up gear to play through an increased level of difficulty, but I still managed to breeze through the first few maps.
With all that said, I do want to be clear in that there was no moment when I was put off or disincentivized to keep playing. Even though the combat was repetitive it was never tedious, and when it’s firing on all cylinders, the synergizing of the items and weapons often caused the screen to fill with poison and explosions.
Foregone is a solid entry in the metroidvania genre, and the limited options in combat are slick enough. It does what it needs to do — the problem is that there are many better examples of this structure that would have to be recommended first.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Big Blue Bubble and published by Big Blue Bubble. It is currently available on Switch, PS4, PC and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO-X. Approximately 9 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Violence, Blood. There is blood spurted from the enemies when hit by melee or ranged weapons, and there are some themes that verge on infanticide, but other wise there isn’t much disturbing in here.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All subtitles are on by default, and the game is fully playable without sound. However, any Xbox players should disable achievement notifications as these block the character’s monologues after beating bosses. The text cannot be resized, nor can the colors be changed.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
He can be found on twitter, where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.