This is a top down action adventure game ala the original Zelda or more specifically the game feels like Zelda: Link’s Awakening with the simple color pallet, and music. The screen doesn’t scroll. When you get to the edge, you go into a new screen, just like Zelda. Its very simple, with an attack button, movement buttons and a menu button.
It has simple combat with a good variety of enemies, but there are also good puzzles that feel unique to this game. Things like using a broom to collect dust to place that dust to block things. Again, its very simple and easy. There is no hand holding with this game and you are free to figure things out yourself, BUT when new things are introduced they will bluntly tell you yes you can do this. Such as when you attack dust, it tells you, you’ve collected dust, attack again to place the dust. It will spoon feed you new things as most good games do, but it doesn’t force you to do several tutorials. Once to test a new skill and that’s it. The game lets you loose. It doesn’t feel like you’ll get lost, areas are pretty confined and you have a Zelda 1 like map, there are portals that let you quick travel.
Like all Zelda games, there are keys that you’ll need. Not just normal keys that open most locked doors, but specific keys to enter new areas. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll be collecting enemy cards. Enough of these cards will unlock specific gates with numbers on them. Along the way, you’ll also find fairies or red insects that will not only fill your health, but also increase your health overall.
The atmosphere of the game is very surreal or creepy, which is awesome, its a different flavor to Zelda that makes it feel unique. You’re a janitor in a dark, surreal world. In fact, I think the game is trying to subtly hypnotize you with its music and sound effects like clicking, tick tocking and chimes. Nothing is really explained, it just is and I’m okay with that. I don’t need a story, even if there are NPCs every so often to talk with.
One drawback to the game on PC is that the screen is tall and narrow like an old school arcade cabinet. This tall resolution is because Anodyne is also an Android OS game. A fun Android game, but it doesn’t help it on PC.
In all, this game feels good and enjoyable. If you’re into simple puzzles, action adventure and a SIMPLE old school Zelda that lets you explore a lot; this is for you. If you’re into a complex, deep Zelda experience with a rich story, this game isn’t for you.