Sunday, May 11, 2014
Game: Anna: Extended Edition
Year (s): 2012
Company: dev. Dreampainters
pub. Kalypso Media
Engine: Unity Engine
Type: Horror, Puzzle adventure
Metacritic Score: 55
My Score: 65
Price (as of May 9, 2014)
Regular list price on Steam: $9.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping): not available
My Game Time: 7 hours with walkthrough
Obligatory Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jmY7sR_wck
Anna begins with notebook entries by the protagonist. He found a box of photos that give him a bad feeling. They depict himself at a creepy-ass sawmill. He has no memory of this, and, being off work due to migraines, sets off to investigate the sawmill and find out what he has forgotten.
The story is really the motivation to keep playing, and it ends up not answering much. There are multiple endings. Though I played along with an online walkthrough, I got one of the, “bad,” endings. I've looked up the others, and there seems to be uncertainty, and an unhappy conclusion, no matter what ending you get.
I hadn't heard of the Unity engine. It turns out it's been used in several dozen games from a variety of genres. I've heard of some of the other games using the engine (most of it indie) but haven't played said games.
Graphically, it's one of those that could have come out five years ago. Or ten, just about. It works and looks realistic but, like most games, isn't on the hardware-intense cutting edge.
I didn't run into any bugs with this. It was somewhat obnoxious to register online and login to play the game, and go through no less than three launchers each time before playing.
Manual Save? Yes
Quick Save? No
Area Load Save? No
Checkpoint Save? No
Maniac Mansion. Myst. Shadowgate. *insert newer games*. Do you like picking things up to add to your inventory? Do you like using every item you have on every other item, and on every named object in a room? That's the kind of game Anna is.
There are clues, in the form of books, that can help. There's also an in-game hint option. Anna came up when I searched for games like Dear Esther, and (to no surprise) was something quite different.
About the only strong similarity is that you can't die. At least, not during the course of events, as near as I can tell.
Expansions / DLC / Sequels
White Heavens, set in a haunted hotel, is set in the same universe and also developed by Dreampainters.
Anna is creepy. That was my favorite aspect of the game.
If you're looking for a pretty cheap, pretty short game, this fits the bill. I'm not crazy about the game type, I didn't love the endings, and it wasn't really what I was looking for. Personally, I'm not wild about this one.
Nonetheless, Anna leads a player on a dark quasi-immersive tale that is a good show for the first game by a developer.