Dreams are what you make of them, or in this case what developers Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka make of them. They have taken what they think makes up every gamer’s dreams and compiled it into a tasty little game called Anodyne. Simply put, its a game that makes me wish I could be dreaming all the time. It does a great job of keeping you busy throughout your adventure, which is one of those stories that keeps you wondering “what is actually going on here?”.

Start Screen Anodyne Review

Are you ready for an adventure through an epic dream world?

You awaken in a strange place where there are floating platforms and portals everywhere, with no knowledge of how you got there or what is going on. A mysterious voice announces to you how to move about and interact with your surroundings. Once you get the hang of moving around you step on a blue portal that seems to be the only thing you can interact with at the time. This brings you to an area where you meet a sage who claims to be the village elder. He tells you that you have been summoned here because the darkness is spreading and you are the chosen one. The sage then teaches you how to traverse the dream world.

Start Anodyne Review

The sage will guide you to your destiny.

There are portals in the main area that lead you back to a waypoint style platform, which reminds me of the waypoints in Diablo 2 except that you can’t travel from one to another, you can only travel back to the main hub and then to a new one from there. This makes the travel between areas a little tedious, but it makes sure you head back to the main hub before continuing on your journey, which in turn allows you to see if a crystal has appeared above each portal. This crystal tells you if you have collected all the cards in that area. Cards you say? Yes, cards. You collect them from the chests littered throughout the world. Though they don’t seem to serve much purpose at first, you learn they are needed to open doors later in the game. The exploration is what takes most of the time but the game does a good job of giving you interesting ways to get to and from different areas. Finding the chests is not only fun but also rewarding as you may unlock a new area to explore.

Card Gate Anodyne Review

The 04 is how many cards you need to gain access to what lies beyond this gate.

The play style of the game is very reminiscent of the 2D top down Zelda series. It even seems like they drew a lot of their inspiration from those games, as not only do you traverse a world and find baddies and chests but you also have to enter dungeons and caves and fight bosses to unlock new areas. Within those dungeons and caves you will need to solve some puzzles and trip switches in a certain order to advance in the level. The puzzles are not too difficult to solve but still require you to be thinking and not just trying to plow through each area. You will also find keys to unlock doors to advance through the dungeons. Thankfully, I have not found an area where you can use the keys in the wrong order and get stuck forever like you imfamously could in the Water Temple.

Boss fight Anodyne Review

Careful of the floating orbs, they hurt!

One of the things that Anodyne does differently than other top down RPGs is that you have the ability to jump. Now you have to use this to get around the world quite often, there are even some traps you have to avoid by jumping at the right time. As I advanced, the rooms became more difficult to get around in, and the controls seemed a bit clunky. If you don’t time the jumps just right, you get hit by a trap which knocks you back off an edge where you fall to your doom and spawn back at the start of the room with the traps already in motion so you have to do it all over again. It got fairly frustrating at times, but I powered through and made it past most of the traps without completely dying. The weapon choice for your hero is quite comical as instead of the traditional sword you are armed with a broom. Yes, that’s right, a broom. You can collect dust clouds and move them around. You will need to do this to solve some of the many puzzles and also protect yourself from traps. This is definitely an interesting twist to the normal top down RPG mechanics of just a weapon that can attack for damage and that’s it.

When you beat a boss some kind of red bug or fairy flies into the room and we all know what the colour red means, Health! Be quick to snatch these up because not only do they fill your health bar but they fly up to your bar and eat the black screen off the end to create a new health square, thus increasing your max health. You can also find these creatures around the world outside the dungeons too. The world is quite expansive too as there are quite a few zones that are all in a grid style layout. There is a mini-map that shows where you are and where you have been on the map. This helps you keep track of where you have been and where you haven’t however you may find a screen that has two entrances on the same side of the screen but you can’t get to them the same way.

Health Bug thingy Anodyne Review

Here we see the mystical creature that grants us more health.

Anodyne is one of those games that will strike a chord with a lot of gamers since it is so close to what the old Zelda series was. The story is very surreal, which makes the game more intriguing and makes you want to keep playing. Now if you want to find all the cards and unlock all the secrets this dream world may contain, be prepared to spend quite some time in the dream world of Anodyne.

Summary:

+ Intriguing storyline keeps you invested

+ Nice twist on conventional sword wielding hero

+ Lots to explore

- Controls are a bit finicky

- You can get lost pretty easily

Final Verdict: Anodyne is a game I wouldn’t pass up despite the tricky controls, as it is a great game that brings back fond memories of classic RPG gaming.

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About The Author

Mr. Bevers
Managing Editor - Reviews, Previews

Steve Bevers is an absolute foundational rock of a human being. He's punctual in absolutely everything in his life - he's even on time when he's late. That is why Steve handles everything that you see posted on the site. He makes sure i's are dotted and t's are crossed and that every article is posted fresh and early in the morning for you. If there's a problem with an article, whether it be grammar, factual, or just straight up isn't there, send him an email and he'll ask me why I messed up. As is tradition.