Foregone Review – Too Good for 2D?
Foregone is an indie action-platformer that seems ready to carve out its own lane in the 2D landscape. Stylistically retro, Foregone is an homage to many of the classic games we know and love, but with an infusion of looter madness and rogue-like quirks. If that wasn’t enough, don’t fret. There will be many more curveballs coming your way.
Don’t let the pixels fool you. At first, you might believe that Foregone is a basic platformer with some cute background art and a barebones story, however, the story chooses not to hit you over the head like it does with the sprites. Rather, a collection of fascinating set pieces holds you over, interspersed with little eggs that make you ask the right questions. And trust me, those questions get answered in a way that makes your jaw drop.
The gameplay is like watching a SpaceX rocket launch. It starts slow. Will it keep going? Or will it explode? Well, let me tell you, the pacing is right on the money. If you have played 2D platformers, then you’ve already played the first few levels of Foregone. Except – hold on – are these gunchucks? There are gunchucks in this game? You’re darn right! But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Foregone’s loot falls like a breadcrumb trail right up to the finish line. There are so many item drops, and as such, a staggering number of things you can do with what you find. From the get-go, the player has access to a melee weapon and a sidearm. And with so many gear combinations, you’ll feel like a kid at the candy store when you open your inventory. Unfortunately, a weapon may have useful stats with a move set that doesn’t match your playstyle. Hence, it literally pays to try new missions and explore different areas.
Optional missions are available throughout Foregone’s progression, filled with opportunities for loot and extra currency. Gold pays for weapon upgrades while magic pays for abilities – which we will get to. Optional missions are incredibly convenient because you do not lose any hard-earned currency when you die, plus they are a great excuse to practice your skills. The only downside is that the missions are timed, so you cannot just roam and farm at your leisure. On the flip side, some players might enjoy new speedruns.
Another challenge is finding the right balance between equipment, stats, special abilities, and playstyle. Abilities in Foregone are varied, but you’re limited to two at a time. You must choose, and you must make peace with your decisions. Unless you extensively plan to farm, of course. Gear affects different abilities. A chest piece that improves unequipped abilities is neither optimal nor kosher. The more invested you are, the more time you may spend min-maxing your stats. But the biggest issue here is that every ability is so unique and flashy, you’ll wind up the master of none. Call it a testament to Foregone’s dynamic gameplay. Ultimately, the level design encourages every player to find their flow. Anything less than ideal will lead to some very tough boss battles.
Boss Battles are sparse but exhilarating, not only for the rush of battle but for each unique design. Everything else is just practice, compared to your 1v1 duels with these behemoths. It’s clear that a lot of creativity went into their art and abilities. What is more, the bosses tend to switch up their moves right when you think you’ve got their number. They are both fun and intimidating pillars to the gameplay – and if you’re like me, the opportunity to see their artwork will be worth the grind to get there.
Without a doubt in my mind, Foregone would be a stale experience without its impeccable sound design. From music to weapons to basic movement, everything blissfully washes over you. When weapons hit their target, you can almost sense the impact. Because of the sound when you pound the ground, you want to do it over and over again. Thanks to the audio, there is an undeniable satisfaction to combat as well as movement. Too many action games forget that a strike can’t be felt unless it’s heard. And the music is the cherry on top. The soundtrack knows how to set the mood, and it fits the level design like a glove.
What Is Real?
In Foregone, you are an Arbiter. I bring that up now because the game shares a similar pace when it comes to info drops. One moment, you’re casually cutting through faceless enemies; later on, you hit a story revelation that changes your entire outlook of the world. The levels are sprinkled with story bits that may alter your perception of the player character. You may even question whose side you are on. I’d even say that the writers took some risks with the storytelling, which, to me, is commendable for an action platformer. For a genre that is meant to be flashy, I appreciate making me care. Now, I must give the game some grief. Despite its style and engagement, it is still pretty formulaic in its execution. Though it lends its own spin to a classic video game genre, fans of the 2D platformer will notice some cues going back to the SNES days. If you love this stuff, there’s every reason to give Foregone a shot. But if you suffer from platformer fatigue, there may not be enough here to rekindle that spirit. If you’re new to the genre, you could do a lot worse than Foregone.
***A PC key was provided by the publisher***
- Nice Style
- Progressive Gameplay Loop
- Boss Battles
- Great Sound Design
- Compelling Story
- Very Familiar
- Relies on Farming at Times
- Slow Burn at the Start