Anodyne – game review
Anodyne is an indie game which comes from the same family of games such as classic Zelda. You play the role of “Young”, a hero with a “Broom” rather than “Sword”. Presenting you with a steady mix of combat, puzzle solving, platforming and exploration in a top down 2D view same as classic Zelda games.
The game’s theme is about “gamers” mainly who alienate themselves in alternate universe and fears of reality. The game’s world pits you in a mysterious land and leaves you to explore it. You will have no clear idea of what you are supposed to be fighting against in the world other than to prepare to meet a mystical briar. Visually the game looks pretty retro which may put off modern gamers but the 16-bit era graphics were intentional design of the game. The game levels are made of various regions to give a variety from forests to castles to dungeons. But sometimes you will find hints of modern cities in backdrop to indicate the game setting inside the subconscious mind of hero.
Anodyne’s combat is simplistic in which you have to just dodge the enemy and then hit them with your broom. For boss fights recognizing the pattern of enemy attack is always the key and you would be having an enjoyable time after that. But the real fun of the game lies not in combat but the puzzles. Sometimes simplistic, and sometimes complex you have figure out how to proceed further and unlock doors to explore rest of map. These including luring enemies, pushing blocks, collecting dust with broom and relocating it to block hazards, pressing switches and what not. And getting it done always gave me the satisfaction of success.
The worst part of the game are its platforming sections, with the simplistic control approach and a top down view; this game wasn’t meant to be a Super Mario but it looks like the developer’s intention to provide as much content and variety in the game didn’t work so well in their favor in this decision.
Anodyne overall is a brilliant and charming game which reminded me of my days spent playing Links Awakening on my gameboy. Its narrative is funny as well as thoughtful at times giving you an insight of gamer’s dark psychology. I just wish people would not ignore this game as a mere old school title and congratule the two man team who made this game. It packages a lot of variety in its small retro belly for you to ignore.