Visual Novels

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Forgotten, Not Lost is an emotional and thought provoking visual novel that surrounds the real life problems of dementia. The visual novel was developed and published by Afterthought Studios who previously created the visual novel titled A More Beautiful World. The author created the story of the struggles that come with dementia and Alzheimer’s using knowledge he had accumulated during his time taking care of someone who suffered dementia. Forgotten, Not Lost is the very first visual novel from Afterthought studio to make it to Steam. The visual novel was published to Steam early April 2016 quickly after it was successfully greenlit. The game includes Steam cards and Steam achievements.

This emotional visual novel focuses on the events surrounding an elderly farmer who continues to slowly lose his memory day by day. The farmer continues to live his last moments with his wife Madalene in their small home which sits on old farmland. Madalene shows her husband patience as she tries to deal with the many emotions that arise from his declining memory. She happily takes care of him and reminds him of things that he has forgotten but it is tough for both of them as he remembers his daughter but has forgotten that she died long ago at a very young age. But she is happy that he remembers their days as childhood friends and the early years of their marriage but she continues since so many of those memories are bittersweet. After spending time listening to her husband reminisce she leaves the house to go into the village pick up some things. To make sure he doesn’t leave the house and get lost or hurt she tells him to stay in the house but she does leave notes around to help him remember things such as his love for tea. As he drinks some of his favorite tea and continues to reminisce there is a sudden roar of thunder and it begins to storm outside. He begins to worry about his wife but is unable to do anything so he decides to rest until she hopefully returns. 

After waking up the farmer forgets what has happened the previous night and believes his wife left in the morning to go to the market. As he wonders what is missing or rather who he hears a knock on the door. At the door is two young guests who are a woman named Madaline and her daughter Maribel. Both of them have names similar to those of the farmer’s wife and daughter and they resemble them as well. After accepting the guests into his home he quickly realizes that something is not right and that has wife should have returned already. The guests follow him to search for his wife and ask what he would do if anything had happened to her but determined the farmer refuses to believe that she might have been injured or killed in the storm. After searching for her and discovering what had happened to her he spends his remaining time coping with everything that has happened. He continues to reminisce with Madaline and Mirabel as he awaits his final moments. In his last moments we are to see Madaline and Mirabel really are and why they are important to the story. The story does it job to leave a lasting impression and stimulate the intended emotions within the player.

The visual novel is purely kinetic and as such does not give the player any choices or alternate events and ending. The mechanics in the game are quite simple since you only have the option to continue through the dialogue. The game still has so many other qualities that draw people to in to the story. The dialogue for the farmer features a wide range of emotions that accurately convey the confused feelings of a person who suffers dementia or Alzheimer’s. The dialogue for other characters depicts the sorrow that friends and family members of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s would normally go through. The dialogue occasionally takes humorous turns but in a way that is light hearted and still fits the serious theme of the visual novel. The art in the game is very simple but beautiful in its own unique way. The high quality of the game comes completely from its beautiful storytelling and simple graphics.

Forgotten, Not Lost has two of the most important qualities needed to make a visual novel great. The most important part of any visual novel is a strong and thought provoking story that draws out emotions in the reader. This visual novel has a solid story that conveys an important message and puts you in the shoes of the main character. Another important feature that should be present in any visual novel is art that compliments the story and emotions. The art in this visual novel is simple but helps to set the mood as it was intended. I highly recommend this to visual novel fans who enjoy emotional stories and simple yet beautiful art.

PROS: Emotional Story, Simple Art, Realistic Characters

CONS: Characters Lack Personality, No Extra Features


SCORE – 8.0/10

This review is based on a purchased copy of Forgotten, Not Lost on Steam.

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