Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  Dreampainters

 Publisher:   Kalypso Media

Released:  July 2012

PC Requirements:

OS: Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7
CPU: 2 GHz Dual Core
Hard Disk Free Space: 800 MB
Video Card: 512 MB Shader3 DirectX 9.0 compatible

Walkthrough   Walkthrough



by flotsam


First person indie horror rendered in 3D with the freedom to go anywhere and the promise of an experience that reacts to the player’s behaviour and at half price sounded too good to pass up. It wasn’t.

Unfortunately nothing lived up to the expectations. The horror failed to materialise, instead being an occasional creepy moment with no sense of tension or dread. I blame the music in part, being often completely at odds with the apparent mood, and I ended up turning it off. Which was a bit harsh on the music, but it just didn’t gel with what I was seeing.

Which was the inside of an old sawmill for the most part, one where strange imagery, shifting and changing surroundings, and overheard voices endeavour to mirror what appears to be Anna’s (or somebody’s) descent into madness. Or at least I think so. The story never really got going, and then finished all too abruptly. Its vagueness did, however, suit the “what is going on here” nature of the experience.

Vague too were the puzzles, and here the vagueness didn’t suit. Too often there was no sense of why you were doing what you were doing, assuming you knew what that was. Examining items might elicit a clue (“that string doesn’t look too hard to cut”) but objectives were generally lacking. Trial and error and just doing stuff seemed to be my stock in trade.

The hint system might help, but it is an artificial way of providing direction. It is also clumsy and at times not terribly useful. It operates kind of like your character’s thoughts, and can be set at “simple” or “complete”, and can be set to operate by using the “h” key or by the passing of a chosen amount of time.

I fiddled around with it and found that the first setting tells you what you need to do, while the second tells you more about how to do it. However it isn’t linked in any way to what you might have done in the game – it referred early on to something I hadn’t yet seen – and the “complete” setting told me there were three things I needed, but once I had them in place it simply repeated itself about what had already been done and gave no further help with what came next. You might also get a hint like “nothing comes to mind”, which to my mind is not at all hinty.

The fact that the system exists and is customisable is to the developer’s credit, but some better in-game direction would have been far more preferable.

I have no idea how the game reacted to my behaviour, and would have to play it again to see what might change. There are also three ways the game ends, and some rummaging on the interweb will reveal them if you don’t want to discover them yourself. They don’t all occur at “the end”, rather there are three points in the game where the game can conclude depending on what you do.

You will find and use a variety of items via a very fiddly inventory system. Be mindful too that some of the hotspots to use the items are very small and very precise. On a couple of occasions what I was trying to do was correct, I just wasn’t doing it on the hotspot. The overly sensitive mouse didn’t help, even when turned to its lowest setting.

While inventory management and scene exploration is via the mouse, movement of the character is with the keyboard. Left click brings up the activity menu (use, examine, pick up) and is used to then select the preferred option. Accessing the inventory is through the “I” key.

The right mouse button is used in certain places to “hold” and then “move” the item in question, by dragging the mouse to mimic the desired action (e.g. pulling open a drawer or door). You can also crouch using the “c” key, which I think I did once and even then didn’t really need to. 

I usually turn subtitles off, but left them on here as it helps to understand the voices you hear. The hints and what you learn when you examine items are all read, not heard. You don’t speak to anyone else in the game and, apart from those voices and a variety of apparitions, there is nobody else.

The ambient sound was good. Anna unfortunately wasn’t very.


I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB

You can purchase Anna via download from The Zodiac Store or The Adventure Shop.


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October 2012

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