My review of Anodyne

#1kiwasabiPosted 2/18/2013 12:16:09 AM
For some reason I'm not able to create a user review for Anodyne so I'll post it here. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts on my conclusions. There are possibly slight spoilers but I tried not to get specific.

Story (Score 10/10):
(Author's description)
"You explore and fight your way through nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young's subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack".

Throughout the game you face many bosses who seem to know deep truths about who you really are. They hint at the fact that you play video games to escape from reality, and that one day you'll have to learn how to deal with people. Some people in the game say, "I'll see you tomorrow night then", as if this is a never-ending cycle. And still some other lament only being able to connect with others digitally, without any real face-to-face interaction. There are very dark moments such as lore on stones that talk about how we come into this painful world by causing harm to our mothers. Overall it's a very powerful narrative that seems to almost tell the player he should go out into the real world and talk to real people. It's a story of frustration and escapism that doesn't quite lead to fulfillment.

Gameplay (Score 7/10):
I really enjoyed Anodyne, but I think it was mostly due to its story, exploration, and to a lesser extent, its bosses. The actual gameplay did leave something to be desired. It's your standard Zelda top-down action fare. The difficulty seemed pretty uneven. Many enemies were either overly wimpy (slimes, bats, etc) or overly annoying (dogs, magnetic metal things, fumigators).

The game also requires quite a bit of platforming expertise at times as well, with many jumps back and forth over rolling spiked logs that seemed impossible to pass unscathed. There are also some excruciatingly difficult jumps to make in regards to utilizing some arrow pads that give you speed boosts. Many times I found myself brute-forcing my way through many obstacles, not caring to successfully maneuver through them as it wasn't very fun.

The collecting aspect of the game is very engaging however. You must collect cards and keys in order to unlock new areas. The cards provide some lore to help tell the story. The bosses are all creatively designed and I found them to be a highlight, although they seemed a bit easy compared to some of the more frustrating parts of the game.

Graphics (Score 8/10):
These are SNES style graphics and they are well done. I would like to see this team create higher resolution art in the future.

Music/Sound FX (Score 9/10):
There are some really great songs that capture the mood of the game quite well. A couple are a bit grating over time, but the good ones far outweigh those. The sound effects were functional, but not exceptional.

Overall (Score 8/10, Not an average):
Anodyne is a great rookie title for its creators. Its story is so compelling as to pull you through the uneven and sometimes tedious gameplay. You'll enjoy visiting all the different worlds and trying to figure out how they all tie together. Ultimately it's not a story of fulfillment, but one that seems to carry a powerful message to its players: don't be afraid of reality, embrace it! Definitely play Anodyne and support these developers.
#2clayflute22422Posted 2/18/2013 2:09:11 AM
you can be the first to submit here!

http://www.gamefaqs.com/contribute/submit_review.php?gameid=703139&release=304111

:D
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#3LesondeviePosted 2/18/2013 3:43:27 AM
kiwasabi posted...
The Kiwasabi analysis is absolutly accurate. Moreover, I am glad to note the Darkcloud20 explanation about the end open your mind.

kiwasabi
I have to say that this is the most unfulfilling ending to any game ever. After all that frustration and hard work going over every pixel in every world, this is a slap in the face. And the fact that you have to glitch just to reach this screen shows that the game designer is indeed sadistic as the OP implied. I knew it was bad when I had to stare at a rabbit hopping across the screen for 2 hours just to get a useless green cube...but my God! This is ridiculous! But the game designer did indeed get his message of self-hatred across loud and clear!


Darkcloud20
Well I actually see this as part of the story/presentation. Young is a character trapped in his dream world of video games he uses to escape real life. Al these disturbing moments are the real life piercing in his dream world.

Collecting stupid cards to fullfill some arbitrary limit is one of the stupidest mind numbing tasks in gaming. It isn't the way to resolve the dream state. No matter how hard you try. there are 48 cards but the door says 49. So you glitch to that last strange edge and get an additional card. Now you get through the door and there is another one. With the message you realize, that this won't lead to anything.

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If you like Anodyne, you will love Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX.
#4kiwasabi(Topic Creator)Posted 2/18/2013 4:05:11 AM
Thanks for the link. Submitted a slightly more fleshed out version. I look forward to your next game.
#5kiwasabi(Topic Creator)Posted 2/18/2013 12:55:37 PM
"The Kiwasabi analysis is absolutly accurate. Moreover, I am glad to note the Darkcloud20 explanation about the end open your mind".

Glad you liked it. Yeah, DarkCloud sort of put it all in perspective for me and allowed me to accept the ending as a statement. I originally took it as the designer trolling or something.
#6nineteendayPosted 2/19/2013 1:37:02 PM
I wrote a review blog (which I won't link cause I'm a scrub), but I had greater difficulty with the story.

The dream-like dialog and non-explanation got on my nerves somewhat. At times it gave me something to think about, but I was hoping for something a little more concrete as I approached the end. I haven't obtained all the cards yet, so maybe there's more to read... it's all a good start, but to me (who enjoys a payoff) it feels like it's missing a final act to answer at least some of the questions and tie things together. (Or it could be that the answers were given in a way I wasn't able to comprehend, in which case silly me)

What I didn't particularly like was the parody elements (hero with the broom, the snickering behind his back, shops you can't buy from, and Link/Rank). I didn't find it particularly funny, and I felt it clashed with the mind-trip the rest of the game was trying to be, and it took me out of the game a bit, like a softer version of breaking the fourth wall.

Other than that I quite enjoyed the game (except that one really well documented jump), nine thumbs up
#7kiwasabi(Topic Creator)Posted 2/19/2013 2:59:45 PM
nineteenday posted...
I wrote a review blog (which I won't link cause I'm a scrub), but I had greater difficulty with the story.


Please do link it as I'm interested in your thoughts on the game. My more fleshed out review is now live on GameFAQs.

nineteenday posted...
The dream-like dialog and non-explanation got on my nerves somewhat. At times it gave me something to think about, but I was hoping for something a little more concrete as I approached the end. I haven't obtained all the cards yet, so maybe there's more to read... it's all a good start, but to me (who enjoys a payoff) it feels like it's missing a final act to answer at least some of the questions and tie things together. (Or it could be that the answers were given in a way I wasn't able to comprehend, in which case silly me)


I felt the same way about the ambiguity of it all. There isn't much of a payoff after you've gotten all 49 cards, I'll warn you. There is just a cryptic message at the end that is unfortunately incomplete. It is ultimately unfulfilling. But what it did do is got me thinking about it and discussing it a lot with a friend of mine. After reading what DarkCloud20 wrote about the story above and really thinking about games as a medium, it made me realize it was a statement about gamers. Basically it was saying some of us use games as a way to escape the real world and to avoid having to deal with people. But at the end of the day this isn't effective in dealing with our problems. We need to get out into the real world and not be afraid of talking to people. Based on what I've read from the dev's blogs and interviews, this is a very personal message that he's basically telling himself. I read a tweet where he said he'd rather be on the internet than go to a party.

nineteenday posted...
What I didn't particularly like was the parody elements (hero with the broom, the snickering behind his back, shops you can't buy from, and Link/Rank). I didn't find it particularly funny, and I felt it clashed with the mind-trip the rest of the game was trying to be, and it took me out of the game a bit, like a softer version of breaking the fourth wall.

Other than that I quite enjoyed the game (except that one really well documented jump), nine thumbs up


I think the broom is inspired by the game Dustforce since he linked it on his blog and really liked it. It may be overanalyzing, but my friend pointed out that perhaps you're using the broom to "sweep up bad memories" or clean up your mind or some such. It's most likely symbolic.

The game is a commentary on games as a medium and games as escapism. I wouldn't have minded if the devs fleshed out Young's story in the real world to create more empathy. But I suppose they wanted you to be Young, and to realize that you can't successfully escape from reality.
#8nineteendayPosted 2/19/2013 3:50:54 PM
Meh, no point linking it, already got someone commenting on my review saying I just don't get it and that's why I didn't like it.

Perhaps I don't 'get it', but that's the danger of having a narrative filled with ideas but not much anchoring, and relying on me having the same kind of experiences as the creators so that the ideas will lead to a particular interpretation. I enjoyed the ideas, but I would have liked just a little bit more basis to help focus them. Or maybe I didn't speak to the NPC's enough. Admittedly I forgot quite often that you could speak to them multiple times

One thing in terms of game play I was waiting to happen was finding upgrades to my attack power. I was criticized for this desire in that I appealing to stereotypes, but exploring got me more life... I was just hoping for something that would make me hit harder, rewarding exploration. Maybe being a powerhouse undermines the message, but I enjoy progressive reward.

Some seem to think that any amount of criticism means I must not have liked it. Incorrect, I did like it, quite a lot. I just comment on a couple things that I think might have made it (for me) a little better.