I promise up front, no "conclusion" puns.
Foregone is a basic, side-scrolling platformer that looks like the mid to late ’90s arcade games. The player and NPCs are made of tiny pixels, while the background elements are a bit smoother looking. I normally don’t get into the whole retro look unless it’s a port of a vintage game. In Foregone, however, the pixilation is subtle enough to lend a classic game feel without looking clunky.
In this game, you are a hero know as an Arbiter. In the unhappy future, it’s up to you to stop Project Hera from destroying everything. There are plenty of bad guys and monsters to fight along the way and obstacles to overcome as well. But don’t forget, since this is a classic platformer there will be nasty bosses to survive at the end of each level.
There is not much of a tutorial in this game, but it doesn’t really need it. The controls are familiar and easy to get the hang of. The first level starts slow to let you get comfortable as you go. The left Joy-Con lets you move and climb, with the down movement doubling as a crouch. In addition, you get the usual XYBA assortment of primary attacks (melee), secondary attacks (ranged), jumps, and slides (respectively).
The ZL and ZR keys are used for special skills once you acquire them. ZR is a self-heal feature which is charged by killing bad guys; keep your eyes on the health meter and use the ZR often. The health charge you gain is not necessarily proportional to the difficulty of killing the bad guy. It can be counterintuitive, but it helps keep your head in the game. The slide is useful for two things—one is to avoid head height damage, and the second is to slide under obstacles. In a few places, using a well-timed slide can get you into a hidden room. These are worth finding because they often contain extra loot you can use on weapon upgrades.
Speaking of upgrades, there are two types of currency in the game—one gets you gear upgrades (weapons, armor, etc.) and the other gets you skill upgrades. There is a skill tree you get to work on for improvements to damage, health, and critical hits. This is both a good and bad point for the game. Yes, you can upgrade your health and how much damage you can inflict, but you are going to need to invest some significant time in the game to afford all the upgrades. This means level grinding to collect enough coins for the upgrades. But, while you are learning the level you can polish your moves to minimize the damage you take.
Mercifully, it doesn’t get drudgingly boring, just a bit repetitive. Besides, you are going to want some upgrades when you get to a boss.
Let’s talk a bit about your weapons. As noted, you get to equip two weapons. One is for melee and the other for ranged attacks. As you make your way through the level, the bad guys will randomly drop weapons (along with coins, armor, rings, medallions, etc.) which you can manage in your inventory. You can only buy upgrades from the weapons master in the Outpost. Save what you find because the weapons master will also buy any weapons you don’t want to keep. All the finer points of gaming economics are in play, but there are no in-game purchases which require real world money (hooray!). There is an assortment of blades, guns, and bows, including a set of “gunchucks.” That’s right, some guns have been cut up and chained together, and they get used like nunchaku with a shot fired at the point of full extension (a bit like a whip cracking). This weapon is a bit gimmick-y, but it’s fun to run around and shoot bad guys with messed up nunchaku.
You can also use a falchion, short sword, or a pair of daggers. Personally, I liked the pair of daggers for a couple of reasons. They are quick with the initial and follow-up strikes, and they make a cool spray effect if you are standing in water. The ranged weapons include a longbow (which looks cooler in gameplay than in the inventory), a pistol, a burst rifle, and a shotgun. Upgrade your toys, you’re going to need them.
Foregone provides some other standard features such as a menu when you press the “-“ button. You can access your character stats, equipment, an area map, and the commander’s log where you can keep in touch with the game’s story. In the weapons area you can change what you have equipped at any time, even in mid-combat. The “+” button will let you access the main menu and save or exit the game. This is one area where the game could be laid out a little better. The use of save slots, exiting, and starting with a particular save point are a little counterintuitive and clunky. Everything works, but it could be a bit more obvious and smoother.
One other shortfall I noticed is that when playing on the TV, the health meter is not visible. This may be a quirk of my TV, but it is something which bears better testing so the player isn’t missing a critical piece of information.
To wrap this all up, Foregone is a fun platformer with plenty of running, jumping, and slashing and shooting things. You get hidden areas, loot to collect, big bad guys to fight, and a world to save. The gameplay is fairly intuitive (if I can keep up, anyone can…) and not overly complicated.
There is an interesting story element and some nice scenery along the way; some of the backgrounds are really well done. The themes may not be unique or highly differentiated from a lot of other platformers, but this genre has been around for a long time so it is a bit saturated.
Review: Foregone (Nintendo Switch)
Foregone is a good 2D action platformer, and worth a play-through. I’ve played many games that are easy to put down when the review is done, but Foregone is staying in my rotation for a while.