A balanced metrodivania with a dash of souls-lite elements
Big Blue Bubble
Big Blue Bubble
Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One
As a fan of platformer games, I was relieved to see that Big Blue Bubble avoided the general route recent indie developers have taken by incorporating rouge-like elements in their platformer games. For me personally, after the release of Hollow Knight, it seemed as if other platformer titles wanted to follow the same route of unforgiving levels and difficult gameplay, which can make the story harder to follow. Foregone is a quick breath of fresh air to the Metroidvania genre. It allows the player to enjoy the gameplay and focus on the narrative of the game. I want to be clear that I am not saying that Foregone is a simplistic title. It has gameplay with its own set of challenges that separates it from the roguelike titles I noticed people have tended to compare it to. Foregone is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (Epic Game Store). This review will be primarily based on the Nintendo Switch version.
Immediately after leaving the main menu, you’re dropped into the first level. I must admit that even with the sudden drop and the brief in-game summary, I had no interest in what was happening with the story. Foregone’s story did not initially catch my attention, but my interest in the narrative picked up as I fell deeper and deeper into the gameplay. In Foregone, you play as an “arbiter,” a super-solider created to protect the city of Calagan. A mysterious force known as the Harrow has begun to corrupt things in the once technologically advanced city of Calagan, leaving nothing but death and destruction behind. As the first arbiter, you are tasked with finding and destroying the Harrow at its source to save what is left of Calagan.
What I enjoyed most about Foregone is the gameplay. Defeating hordes of enemies provides the player with tons of loot, gold, and blue skill points to upgrade weapons and abilities. The loot is characterized by color and has bonus attributes that can add extra damage buffs or additional health, similar to most RPGs and shoot and loot games.
You have control over how you want to play. By pairing a melee and gun choice, you can create your own strategy. Wanna be up close and personal with dual daggers and a shotgun? Or would you rather keep a hoard of enemies at a distance with a spear and longbow? Both options are possible, and Forgone offers various matchups for players to decide what fits them best for their playthrough. During my playthrough, I used the “gunchucks” and a shotgun since that felt best for me and how I wanted to experience the game. For me, both dealt a hefty amount of damage to deal with the large, elaborate boss fights.
Each level has transport spots spread out across the area that restores gun ammo and health, similar to what I’ve seen in souls-like games that I’ve played such as Nioh 2. You can use these transport spots to go back to the outpost to upgrade your weapons and abilities. However, Foregone’s fast-paced gameplay makes it a race to each transport spot, and at times I was careless and died in the game. After death, you are given two options, which I found similar to souls-like games: you can “purchase” back half of your lost items at the outpost or retrieve the arbiter’s “grave” from the spot you died at. Fortunately, all paths remain unlocked in each level, making each run faster, especially if you’ve gone back to the outpost for a couple of upgrades.
However, my great experience with the gameplay was cut short. This could potentially be a port issue, but leaving the game on for a long period of time affects its performance on the Nintendo Switch. Before limiting the amount of time I would spend with the game, I noticed little stutters in the animation or drops to 20 FPS making the combat extremely difficult. Hopefully, this is something the developers can fix in a patch. Until then, I highly recommend playing this game in shorter time periods (no more than 2 hours) for a pleasurable experience with the combat system if you purchase a copy on the Nintendo Switch. A few other mild glitches, such as the auto-aim that works well up until a random occasion decide to send a bullet to absolutely nothing.
Foregone’s graphics also left an impression on me with each moment of fast-paced, frantic gameplay as I sped across the map to reach level transports or attempted to take out bosses. Foregone provided beautiful environments and smooth sprite animations. Simply put, Foregone is pixel art done right. As a musician, I must confess that the music didn’t stand out to me. The music presented is good, but overall the entire soundtrack is similar stylistically. This was a let down compared to other 2D platformers that contain a variety of music genres for each level, such as Sonic Mania.However, I wonder if the length at each level is why I consider it a forgettable soundtrack.
Foregone steadily grows in challenge giving time for players to develop their skill set for their playthrough. There were not any unnecessary spikes in difficulty that ruined my fun. As each new boss or enemy appeared, I was prepared to take them on. If you’ve been exhausted from the unforgiving spikes in difficulty from roguelike and souls like platformer games, then Foregone is the game for you.
You should play this fast-paced 2D action-platformer if you're tired of difficult rougelike and soulslike platforming games.
Beautiful graphics and aesthetically pleasing to the eye