Can you tell the difference between reality and fantasy? Would you know whether you were living in real life, or exploring your subconscious? This is the question I was asking myself while playing Anodyne. It’s a fun Indie Zelda clone, that I played a bit of on Switch, then really jumped into on my PS4. This was one of the times, in more recent memory, that I lost all sense of time with a game. One minute it was 10 pm, next minute it’s 3 am and I had to go to bed.
Anodyne starts off simple. You’re a boy named Young, who’s being told to wake up. You find yourself in a crumbling world and you’re forced to run. You then find yourself in a Nexus with a Sage. He then tells you about the quest you’re about to go on, then it’s off to the races. The game is so simple in concept and easy to pick up. There’s dungeons galore, silly NPCs to talk to, and no is there to hold your hand.
After the first mandatory dungeon, the game opens up immediately. You can then go to any of the starting three dungeons, whatever order you choose. Whether you choose to go to a forest, scale a cliffside, or push an old man into a whirlpool in the ocean. That’s right, you push an old man to his doom! This game has many, many dark tones, with a sprinkling of wholesome funny tones. Don’t expect a rainbow to appear throughout your journey. It’s all dark and bleak, with intrigue, murder, and even a bit of betrayal.
My favorite part about this game, is talking to NPCs over and over. They have a new line to say to you each time! Each NPC only has about three different lines, but it’s fun to see them say something different instead of one basic one. Now, as for the game itself, as I mentioned it’s basic. You get one weapon, that being your broom attack. No items, no different weapons, no armor or anything. So it’s bland in that sense, but at the same time, it fits perfectly. You’re not always swapping items, or scrolling through menus to get what you need for certain situations.
Now as for the dungeons, they all have a different theme to them, but they all play out exactly the same. Go find keys, get to the boss, kill it, the end. There are no dungeon specific items, and there’s no reason to fight enemies unless they unlock gates, unless you need health. This aspect could’ve used a good shake-up, but the rest of the game makes up for it in my opinion, especially with the bosses! There are so many areas you, and weird things you experience, that one basic set back isn’t too bad. At the beginning, you may only clear three dungeons, but then, you end up activating an object, that expands the map even more with even more dungeons!
The collectibles in the game are Cards. These cards are unfortunately needed to beat the game though. So even if you try and fast track every area, you won’t be able to beat the final boss, unless you make sure to grab all these items. This feels like a massive set back honestly. A lot of people don’t like fully exploring maps, so pushing this on the player is a terrible design. Some you find along the normal path, but others you really need to explore off the beaten path a lot. There are 48 cards in total. 11 are post-game after you beat the final boss, and 36 are needed to beat it. It’s a neat add-in though, that if you interact with the cards in the menus, you get a silly little quote from the NPC/enemy that is on the card.
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- Great Zelda Clone
- Multiple NPC Dialogue Lines
- Wonderful Areas
- Cool Bosses
- Only One Weapon/Item
- Dungeons Are Basic
- Needing All Collectibles To Beat
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 7/10
Music - 6/10
Story - 4/10
Art Design - 7/10
User Review( votes)
At the end of the day, I cannot recommend this game more than enough. Even with it being basic, and the set back of the cards being mandatory to beat the game, it’s a worthwhile, weird journey that I hope everyone will at least willingly try!