You ever finish a game and just go “yeah, I guess that was okay?” Well, that’s Foregone in a nutshell. It’s a 2D action-platformer that is just now making its way to Steam after being locked behind Epic exclusivity.
Let’s start with gameplay. Foregone bills itself as a “fast and fluid 2D action-platformer” and that’s pretty much spot-on. You travel through a bunch of areas linked together as this one, bigger world while also having the ability to warp back to a hub area through teleporters. Each area has its own boss and set of enemies, all of which drop a bunch of loot – be it a melee weapon, gun, or armor piece. These items can then be brought back to the hub area to be upgraded or salvaged, and you’ll definitely need to do this as they will quickly clog up your inventory. Otherwise, the looting, upgrading, and customization is fairly straightforward – you just pick whichever one has the bigger number.
The combat is a bit better though. It’s simple in that there is effectively only one combo string per weapon, but it does feel good to play. There’s a nice amount of feedback, the dodging and movement abilities are responsive, the controls are intuitive, and the dynamic between having a melee and ranged weapon equipped simultaneously makes it more than just a button masher. There are also combat skills, including stuff like attack buffs, AOE attacks, and defensive ones too. You’re able to equip two of these at a time, but the healing skill is so good on its own that I can’t see why anyone would not take at least that.
The different weapon types add another layer on top of the combat. The spear, for example, is very fast, but doesn’t do as much damage, whereas the heavy sword is the exact opposite. Pair the heavy sword with the short-ranged, but powerful shotgun and you have quite the damage-heavy build. Or maybe you want to go heavy sword, but with a faster ranged weapon, like the burst rifle – the options are there. There aren’t too many different weapon types, but for how long the game is, there was enough for the combat to avoid that feeling of monotony.
And on the topic of length, it’s a rather short game. I saw the devs mention it would take between 10-12 hours to beat, but I finished it in just under 5 – and that’s with doing a decent amount of secret-hunting too. It’s not a game with much (or really, any) replayability – and that’s fine by me, but might be an issue for others. There is a new game+ mode at least, but I honestly can’t see myself ever taking advantage of it – it’s much more of a one-and-done kind of game.
That brings me to the level design. One of the Steam tags is metroidvania and I would say that’s only partially correct. You do unlock additional movement abilities and such that open up the exploration more as you progress, but the level design is incredibly linear and the exploration is limited as a result. On one hand, this does remove a lot of the backtracking that the genre usually brings (which is good), but it also leaves the game’s movement abilities feeling under-utilized. There’s a balance to be had there and Foregone tilts a bit too far to one side.
There’s also the issue of enemy variety. Although each new area does add a few new enemies, it also really likes to reuse old ones, but with different colors and slightly altered attacks. Even for a game as short as this one, I grew tired of killing the same reskinned enemy a hundred or so times. That and the bosses are a bit hit or miss too. They may have cool designs, but the attack patterns are very limited and they come off as dull as a result.
I can’t say I was a fan of the story either. It’s one of those “barely there” kind of stories, told mainly through info-dumping text logs found while playing and the occasional bit of dialogue or two. It’s more so a means to connect together the levels in a coherent manner rather than to tell anything of interest, which might not even be a problem for many.
The graphics and music are, again, nothing special, but not bad either. The pixel art has a decent amount of detail to it and the backgrounds are okay, but where it really shines is animation. It’s very fluid and helps give the combat that extra touch of visual feedback. The music has a couple nice tracks, but the rest is mostly forgettable – it’s not something I would come back to and listen outside of the game.
On the technical front, the game is flawless. I had no issues running it at 1440p, 144 fps with no bugs or technical issues of any kind. The controls on both controller and keyboard and mouse are solid and I felt no need to rebind them, although the option is there. In fact, the keyboard and mouse controls were intuitive enough that I didn’t even need to look up the bindings when testing them for this review – it just worked and played well right out of the box.
Foregone is a competent action-platformer overall, not really bringing anything new, but not being outright bad in any one area. It’s one of those indie games that serves as a nice palate cleanser in-between other games and I know that sounds bad, but as someone that plays a ton of longer games, it’s always nice to have something smaller to break them up. Still, I would not recommend it as an immediate buy. Rather, give it a look if you can find it on sale or if you’re really into the genre. Otherwise, give it a pass.
Quote: Foregone is a competent action-platformer overall, not really bringing anything new, but not being outright bad in any one area. Not recommended as an immediate buy, but maybe on sale.
You can buy Foregone on Steam here. The game is also available through GOG and on Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.