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Humble Bundle with Android 7 Review

Guest_Jim_*    -   October 23, 2013
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Anodyne Review:

Anodyne is a puzzle adventure set in a 2D world, similar to games of the Legend of Zelda franchise. Indeed, some of the UI elements are obvious imitations of the Zelda games, which is nice as that makes it easy to recognize what everything is. Of course the 16-bit graphics also lend themselves to the imitation.

You are Young, the Chosen One, and with the guiding help of Sage you are to protect The Briar from The Darkness, using your trusty broom. Yes, your weapon is a broom. While a broom may not seem to be a very good weapon, it suffices, and it allows you to move around dust piles. These piles can be placed to block certain hazards and can even be used as rafts for travelling across water. Without the dust piles, you will gradually sink and drown, but it takes long enough that you can get around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you play you will pick up special keys for unlocking large gates and cards that unlock other large gates. The card-gates require you have so many cards to open, and not any specific cards.

Saving is done via checkpoints that you are able to step on, but you have to interact with them to actually save. You cannot just run over them and expect them to save anything. All interactions are done with the same key, C. Of course you can reassign that key on a computer, but the default for talking to people, attacking enemies, and interacting with objects is C. On my smartphone the button is actually labeled C as well.

 

The default movement keys are the arrow keys on the computer, which works pretty well. The Android version, however, is different. A virtual joystick is shown on the screen, by default, but also by default you can just touch the screen to indicate the direction for Young to move. I found myself going back and forth, depending on the scenario, as I found the virtual joystick to not always be responsive. Part of that may be because of how close it is to the edge of the screen when in landscape.

Anodyne does have the interesting feature of being able to run either in portrait or landscape on an Android device. Switching aspects changes the layout of the screen, as portrait mode puts the controls on the bottom, while landscape splits them to the left and right of the game window. On the computer though, it appears the only option is portrait, which can have an odd side effect.

 

When the game has its resolution option set to integer scaling or stretched, it is pillar boxed, sort of. The black sidebars I do not believe are being actively rendered as black, but are instead just empty areas. I believe this because the notification boxes from Steam would leave trails as they slide away. You can see them in the PC screenshots. In windowed mode, there are naturally no sidebars. By the way, you are able to control the integer scaling of the game, and make the window smaller if you wish. Personally, I believe it scales quite well and will just leave it at its current 6x setting.

The soundtrack is appropriate for the game, but outside of the game, I doubt I will listen to it again. It is not a bad soundtrack, but many of the tracks are short and likely designed to be looped. This can make going from one track to another a jarring experience. Still, its synthesized sounds are very fitting for the unusual world of Anodyne, as well as its 16-bit styling.

 

Personally I am not impressed by the Android version. That is not to say it is a bad game for the platform, it just feels somewhat out of place on the platform. The movement controls are not the best, and it is not quite a pick-up/put-down game, which I feel is important for a mobile platform. On the PC though, these are non-issues.

With what time I have put into Anodyne thus far, I would recommend it to anyone willing to invest time into it. The time it can take walking around, exploring the world, opening gates, and locating everything may be more than a casual gamer would be willing to spend. For more-than-casual gamers though, this is probably going to be something you enjoy, if only for nostalgic reasons. Go ahead and purchase at least the base games of the bundle for that.




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