Saturday, November 16, 2013

Full Review: Anodyne

Read the First Impressions

When talking about Anodyne, I can't help but say a little more about the ambience.  I want to compare it to a free-to-download indie favorite of mine: Eversion.  This is a little indie game that isn't afraid to get creepy.  It also vibes a bit Earthbound, for the SNES.  It's visually like Earthbound as well:  Anodyne is just between 8-bit and 16-bit style.  It sort of plays like the Game Boy version of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

Like Zelda games, there is a great variety of puzzles to solve.   Unlike Zelda, there are not a lot of equipment upgrades, however, the designers do a great job innovating new and different puzzles as the game progresses.  They also take care to make each stage or region look substantially different from the last, keeping the atmosphere strong, and reducing a sense of repetitiveness.     

The designers were ingeniously courteous in the way they designed the world maps.  They corral you into different winding corridors on the map by the use of locked gates.  However, as you progress, you double back and unlock the gates from the other side.  I don't know if you can beat the game without unlocking the gates, but that would make for one hell of an achievement.  The game itself seems to be only vaguely exploration based.  That is to say, I feel like I am covering every inch of the map in order to progress.  However, that said, I beat the game with 12 undiscovered Cards.

The game comes with a charming little Card System.  You collect various cards throughout the game, which correspond to the different characters and enemies.  Each card contains a caption and an image.  It's pretty cool,  I mean, pointless cards are nothing new, but this game has such a strange storyline, that I'm always very eager to see what the caption is on the cards, even if it's just a throwaway non-sequitur.  Also, the programmers decided not to make the cards pointless: there are locked gates that you can only get through if you have enough cards.

I beat Anodyne in 5.2 hours.  A little underwhelming by the end,  that is my only complaint.  And hey, it might just be my attention span.  There are 12 remaining cards and a secret stage that I haven't yet been to.  I always love these little easter eggs, however, I have not held myself to 100% completion before writing this review.

Is it worth ten bucks?  Well, that's like a trick question, since I got it in a Humble Bundle and also - I generally try to get games on sale, so I usually pay about 7.50 for a game, or even 5.  So, with that context, I still think it's probably worth ten bucks, but I recommend getting Anodyne, or any game, when it's on sale.  Bottom line is that this game is a labor of Love from a tiny team of 2 designers, and it shows.


P.S.  Okay, now I went and reviewed it on Metacritic.  I gave it an 8.  My username is FeaxPotts.  Always nice to have a typo in your username :P  I think I want to go back through all my game reviews and review them on meta critic.  Especially those ones with metacritic scores that I disagree with.

Note:  This game came with an Android version as well.  I gave it a shot on my smart phone -- I don't like it.  Maybe I need time to adjust to having touch buttons.  The biggest problem is the control pad.  It's so slippery, and it's located on the lower left-hand side of the screen, and I'd like it a big higher.  I find that when I lift my thumb, I always set it down on the top of the pad, rather than the center.

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