Slicker than a wet seal
I am a huge sucker for Metroidvanias, especially when they dabble into the rogue-like/lite elements. Whether searching for loot or hacking my foes into mini cutlets, there is nothing I enjoy more than these action-packed fast-paced titles. When done well, these games can be exceptionally unique and entertaining experiences with tons of replayability. Doing the best it can to set itself apart from the surplus of games riding the wave of cult success like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Blasphemous and Dead Cells, Big Blue Bubble’s Foregone is another entry in the world of action-adventure platforming with a dash of those lovable aspects.
She’s just here so she won’t get fined
Taking place in the kingdom of Calagan, Foregone‘s story puts you in control of the slick-sliding, super-soldier the Arbiter, whose sole purpose is to rid the world of the Harrow, a destructive force encompassing the land with the reanimated dead, dastardly goons, and rampant beasts. It’s your standard hero who saves the kingdom stuff. When I first dropped in, I was instantly taken aback by the amazing graphics on display as I made it further and further into the church. It’s here we kind of get our first glimpse of what’s going on in the kingdom, then it’s pretty much off to the races. At first, I was expecting to embark on a journey filled with descriptive lore serving as an analog to slowly reveal to us exactly what happened to Calagan. Given that you spend most of your time exploring the world’s post-apocalyptic landscape, I was a little disappointed with how little lore we actually got. Yet, with everything and their mother trying to murder you mercilessly, I could understand why there was no time for drawn-out conversation.
While the narrative is pretty bare-bones material, never really taking the time to flesh out its world-building, our heroine does at least take the time to give us some playful and slightly informal banter as she traverses the sewers, citadels, and other decaying buildings sprawling throughout the desolate wasteland.
Another way the game reveals information to the players is through random glowing books in the mid-segments of stages. Sadly these don’t really expand the lore much either. But don’t let the lack of expansive mythos and short gameplay detour you from what is the meat and bones of this straight-shot linear platformer – its solid and sleek gameplay.
She slides so nice, you’ll think twice
As expected with the Dead Cells-Esque titles, Foregone‘s biggest and best feature is its weighty yet buttery-smooth combat. Every jump, slide, and attack has its own sense of style and feel. Your Arbiter doesn’t start very powerful, but after gathering a modicum of skills and weapons you’ll gain the upper hand in any squabble between you and the surprisingly diverse bestiary of foes that want you dead. Going into this with the mindset that this was just another platformer, I was surprised by how solid the battles actually were. The movement speed was a little slower than I was used to, but they still managed to keep everything exciting.
One of the bread and butter components of movement and combat is feverishly mashing the slide button, slickly sliding between all your foes’ slow-moving attacks while unloading a full clip into his back or wailing on him with a pair of “gunchucks” like some hero in a John Woo flick. It makes for some intense moments when you’re low on health or have a group of gunners to dodge, dip, duck, and dive through. Even after I mastered the ways of the gunchuck weapon early on, I still couldn’t help trying out every new one I picked up to try out new ways to wreck my foes.
Navigation is another one of its notable features, especially once you unlock the air-dash. Like most 2D Metroidvania titles, your dashes will help propel you to newer heights and distances, allowing your character more freedom as you roam Calagan’s districts in a constant mad dash to the next checkpoint.
Speaking of Checkpoints/outposts, they work just like a Dark Souls bonfire, giving you a break from your linear travels and beaming you back home to offload all your junk and boost your weapons and skills to effectively make whatever build you’re going for. Even though weapons and equipment may be scarce in variety, the flowing battle and traversal styles still does exactly what Foregone needs it to do to keep the game intriguing.
Making it rain guts and gems
Just like Donkey Kong Country before it, Foregone effectively uses 3-D objects turned into sprite art, giving us some of the smoothest animations I’ve seen in a while. Watching enemies explode in a sparkling display of pixelated gems and gold splashed onto beautifully animated 2-D backdrops was one of the many highlights of my adventures. Even our nameless heroine has a certain level of light and charm, making for some interesting lighting effects as you sprint your way through the dimly lit areas. The world’s lush flora and fauna growing over the decaying city does a wonderful job displaying a world wrecked by calamity, perfectly fitting the current situation.
The music of the game is somewhat forgettable. From what I could actually hear, the game presented some stylistically fitting music that would’ve made for some pretty solid tunes. Sadly, with its low volume being completely overwhelmed by the in-game sound effects, it’s hard to make out what’s being played during fights. Still, the fantastically smooth animations and lovely animated stages more than make up for this singular gripe I have.
Baby Bottom Smooth
Overall, Big Blue Bubbles’ latest addition to the Metroidvania genre is a really enjoyable game that I had a ton of fun with. While it may be yet another Dead Cells clone, its weighty combat, challenging foes, slick maneuverability, and gorgeous aesthetics do just enough to set Foregone apart from its contemporaries. So if mad-dashing, action-adventure platforming is your niche, then picking this one up will be well worth your time.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed); Publisher: Big Blue Bubble; Developer: Big Blue Bubble; Players: 1; Released: October 13, 2020; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: $29.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Foregone given to Hey Poor Player by the publisher.