Friday, October 25, 2013

First Impressions: Anodyne

Here's a song from the game for you to listen to


1. not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.
"anodyne New Age music"

2.a painkilling drug or medicine.

Anodyne is a 2-d, top-down Zelda clone.  They even include the 'stop when you strike' feature that I think is pretty neat.  It is a Zelda clone by engine, but not by theme.  Unlike Zelda, the game is immediately eerie, dark and strange, and there are reasons to distrust what you are told.  There is an ambient soundtrack through the first portion, and as the world expands, the soundtrack seems to want to expand, but can never quite become a fanfare in that bright, Zelda style.  I should mention I'm a big fan of Zelda clones.  

The gameplay is not as complex as Zelda games.  For example, it wasn't until about two hours into the game that I gained an ability beyond the basic attack.  On the other hand, the basic strike has a secondary use, which is to pick up and drop bits of dust.  These bits of dust have been used in a few different ways.  The designers have used these few abilities to craft some interesting puzzles, and the combat can be tough.  The enemy movement and projectile patterns keep me on my toes.    

The game appears to be open-world and non-linear, though there are clearly established 'zones.'  I have no idea if I'm going to the right place at the right time, and that aimlessness seems to be a part of the design. One thing I like is that there is a moment where you find a road sign, the first in the game, and it is too unclear to read. I don't know why, but I really like that the first road sign you see has no content. It stands out as something to read, but too bad, it's faded, and you can't make it out. Where to from here. The good news is:  I have yet to get stuck.  I think this speaks to a sense of care on the part of the designers.  

If you have a hankering to play a well-designed clone of early Zelda games, but with a creative and creepy vibe, then I recommend giving Anodyne a look.  I'm going to play through the rest, and try to craft a more thorough posting.  


P.S.  I originally heard of Anodyne from Indie Games Magazine.  They've got this great little Android App that I use to read about games while waiting in lines.   I picked up Anodyne from a recent Humble Bundle.  If you aren't hip to the Humble Bundles, I suggest you check them out.  I've already given you a starter by embedding a link in the previous sentence.  Also, they have a very intuitive website address, and if you ask google about Humble Bundles, I'm sure it will help you.  Humble Bundles are a big part of why I started gaming again, after taking a many-year break.


1 comment:

  1. A dark eerie Zelda clone with a good soundtrack!? That sounds like all sorts of goodness. I'd be interested to know how long it took you to complete the game as I'm on the lookout for something that I could complete in, say, 10 hours; as opposed to these 100+ hour epic quests that I keep getting myself into.