This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).
I am torn about this game. I wanted to like it, and I did enjoy it for the first hour or two…then it became tedious.
Quite a few Steam reviews call Anodyne a Zelda-lite, which I have to assume is accurate since I’ve never played any Zelda before the N64. I actually quite liked the art style (I know!), must be the influence of To The Moon. This RPGMaker thing is quite impressive with the range of mechanics and effects it can bring to the table.
The writing, on the other hand…I think it’s a bit too clever for its own good. There is an element of mystery, the sense that all of this is illusory or somehow meaningful in an unexpected way. It…it’s like dubstep, with the buildup to the drop. The problem being, the drop is taking far, far too long to appear. You’re kept in the dark about too much for too long, and eventually the grind of navigation back and forth between areas to try and find the way forward became too frustrating for me. I got nearly halfway through the game, as near as I can tell, and I still have no idea where I am, what I am doing, or why I am here. There is only so long you can play without context. I realised I was just wandering aimlessly trying to figure out where to go, what to do next.
Anodyne does communicate an air of uneasiness quite well, I will give it that. You might not know what is happening, but you do know that it is Not Good. I usually love that air of suspense in a game, but ultimately I ran out of patience with the pace of the storytelling. It is entirely possible that I just got stuck and missed something obvious, but the lack of story payoff up ’til then meant that I was not inclined to give Anodyne more investment than I already had.
All those words to say, I liked it but I hit a progress wall and was not sufficiently motivated to push through, even with a walkthrough.