Anodyne is a new indie adventure game by developers Analgesic Productions and published by Nnooo. It is heavily inspired by old 8 & 16 bit Legend Of Zelda titles on the NES & SNES and other titles like them of that era. The game plays from a top down perspective where players have to explore several areas and dungeons set across an overworld map.
Players assume the role of Mr Young and the world is set within his own sub-concious. Which is the setup for putting you into a mysterious fantasy world with many strange places and otherworldly creatures.
The plot as I’ve mentioned revolves around exploring a fantasy world in Mr Young’s, our protagonist, sub-conscious. He meets a mysterious Sage and must explore the game world, meeting several different NPCs, battling fantastical creatures and collecting items needed to progress. Players do this by clearing rooms of enemies, solving puzzles and defeating the bosses of dungeons.
The story is told via text dialogue when talking to other characters. Which is very well written and has a good amount of humour sprinkled into conversations that lighten the mood. There is a few missteps in the story and while this doesn’t really affect the quality of the game as such. I feel I should mention it because it does make the game unsuitable for children. There are a few sexually explicit jokes in the dialogue, to use the description given by PEGI.
It’s nothing too graphic though. For example a bear I spoke to wanted me to get him berries. Going on and on about how much he loves berries then randomly telling me he had sex 18 times this year. Which made me laugh a little because it was so random and unexpected. But I feel like these jokes aren’t worth making the game inappropriate for a larger demographic of young gamers just for a few cheap laughs.
Also the game at one point poked fun at micro transactions with an item shop selling cool sounding items for ridiculous amounts. There is no money in the game for you to collect though. It seems to be purely for laughs at the current gaming trend of micro-transactions in games. However someone playing that doesn’t know about micro-transactions might be a bit confused as to how to acquire these items or indeed the money to buy them.
Gameplay involves exploring the game world which is fairly vast with several different environments and backdrops. There are no objective markers here or anything else to help you really. You have to explore the world with very little help from the game as to what you should be doing next. You have to complete dungeons which are full of enemies to clear out, puzzles to solve and keys to find all of which allows you to progress through the dungeon until you reach the end boss. It is very reminiscent of older Zelda games such as Link To The Past with a similar gameplay structure.
The overworld has much of the same loop you have to explore everywhere to find keys and cards, which are pictures of different characters and enemies in the game. Collecting enough cards will allow you to open certain gates.
Graphics & Sound
Anodyne looks very nice in a retro sort of way and completely nails the look and feel of old 16 bit adventures that they are going for. The environments are well drawn with a nice art style and the worlds of Anodyne are very well designed to encourage players to explore every part of them. There are several different areas with different backdrops and enemies are fun instantly lovable characters in themselves.
The game also features a very nice soundtrack which is very well suited to the game. It sort of disappears into the background when I’m playing if you get my meaning. It’s not near as iconic as the likes of Zelda’s timeless music but it does a solid job of providing music that enhances the experience and immersion.
Anodyne is a great retro-flavoured adventure game that I had a great time playing. With fun exploration, puzzle solving and combat against adorable looking enemies. All in a style very reminiscent of the old Zelda classics it draws its inspirations from. The game lasts a good 6 hours to play through so it is fairly lengthy for a cheaper indie title for a very reasonable price of £7.99 it’s good value for money as well.
A few light throway sex jokes makes it a PEGI 16 title which is a huge mistake in my opinion as it would be better if the game was appropriate for all ages. Especially considering these few instances don’t match the tone of the rest of the game. As an adult they didn’t really take away from my experience so it hasn’t affected my score but I feel that it’s a point worth mentioning to inform people.
Developer: Analgesic Productions
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, IOS, Android, Windows, Mac & Linux
Release Date: Out Now