With the arrival of 3D graphics in the mid-90s, the classic point and click adventure game was relegated to relic status for years until companies including Daedalic Entertainment picked up the mantle and revived the genre. Best known for their Deponia and Whispered World series (the second part of which is planned for next year), the small German studio also acts as editor for numerous titles including Randal's Monday, to name the most recent example. Quietly released last week, Anna's Quest is one such game. Headed by Daedalic, this game developed by Dane Krams is well worth your time if you're a fan of the genre.
Let it go
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Anna. Raised alone by her Grandfather in the great forest, she leads a tranquil life despite the mysterious disappearance of her parents. This all changes when her Grandfather falls ill leaving the child with only one solution: defy her Grandpa's orders and venture into the forest on a quest for the cure. During her adventure, a lone witch lies in wait to capture the girl and steal an important gift that Anna herself is even yet aware of. For indeed, Anna is not quite like any other child. It's not long before she discovers her gift – a gift of telekinesis. Unable to control it, let alone pronounce it, Anna is forced to find a way to escape in order to search for the remedy to cure your Grandfather. Shades of the Brothers Grimm and Andersen are clearly at work here right down to the rather Germanic names of certain characters met during the adventure.
The visual design is quite charming throughout with plenty of inspirations that are in perfect harmony with story Dane Krams wanted to tell. As you know, driving the narrative forward is one the central pillars to the genre, and Anna's Quest neatly skirts the absurd while opting for a generally serious intrigue. Anna's Quest does not disappoint in this regard and manages to surprise the player right up to the end. The tone is always child-like, but the story isn't particularly suitable for younger players. The puzzle design is interesting and solvable without feeling overly far-fetched. Solving a riddle remains just as gratifying a moment as one would hope without ever becoming a cake walk.
Use tour brain
The lack of a help system, aside from the ability to display interactive elements within the scene using the space bar, is never punished and the only real puzzle game can almost be passed automatically. The inventory management works in a very conventional fashion – the mouse wheel brings up the inventory allowing you to use or combine items. The right mouse button is used to observe and comment on objects while the left button is, not unsurprisingly, is used to interact with items. More interestingly, the brain icon at the bottom left of the screen allows Anna to utilize telekinesis, which really just works as an item that you can combine with something in your inventory or the scene. The final cherry on top has to be Anna's subtle guidance which pushes the player towards the right path using simple in-world speech. It's a nice, light method to keep the player progressing from start to finish.
After kicking off with a single screen section designed to familiarize players with the game, Anna's Quest opens up into a rich, intricate graphic adventure game with sufficiently challenging, but not frustrating, set of puzzles. There are certainly points where you might get stuck but the solution is usually not far behind. Sometimes it's the right combination of items and phrases while, at other times, you'll need to tackle a situation with a certain character yet it never feels unfair. In the end, Anna's Quest pushed us to see the end of the story, which is something that's not always true with these types of games. We wish it had been possible to present the game via GSY Live but, as a result of connection problems, this hasn't yet come to pass. Hopefully, this review will be enough to convince players to give it a shot!
On the up side
+ Very nice visuals
+ Charming art style
+ An interesting story to follow
+ Balanced challenge
+ Satisfying length
+ Voice acting
+ A point and click adventure which we wanted to finish
+ A surprise ending for a tale
On the down side
- The voice cast is sometimes repeated despite attempts to hide the fact
- Regulars might find it too easy
- Some will miss the lack of choice at the end
- That's it
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