It is probably not surprising,
given some of the games emanating from this developer (Whispered World
and the Deponia games to name just a few) that the animated Anna’s Quest
is a polished little number indeed. Storytelling is prominent,
production values top notch, and everything comes together to produce an
epic little Grimm-lite fairyish tale.
Also not surprisingly, this is
Anna’s quest. It starts with a sick Grandpa, and a journey through the
woods to find a cure, and quickly results in a witchy imprisonment in a
tower. The first task is to escape, and some recently discovered
telekinesis powers come in mighty handy. Anna can pretty much attempt to
“move” anything; click the little brain bottom left of screen, point it
at the object in question, and watch while Anna scrunches up her face
and does her best to will it to give in to her. It isn’t always
successful, but it will come in handy.
Escaping involves all manner of
inventory based tasks, most fairly benign, some a little more
“creative”. This is the game’s stock in trade, and Anna will have done
many a good deed, undertaken many a task, and collected and used many an
item by the end. Early on you might have a dozen items at any one time,
but the number on hand tends to diminishes as the game moves along.
“Getting” rather than “using” becomes a bit more of the focus, although
they still have to be used once acquired.
Quests by their nature should
take a bit of time, and this one clocks in at about 12 to 14 hours. It
never gets dull, or lags, and is gentle enough in its difficulty to keep
rolling along. Try a wrong combination and Anna might well say something
like “that was a good idea but I need something a little more pointy”
which may help with what to do or find next. I won’t pretend I didn’t
peek at a walkthrough one or twice, but by and large it was nicely
constructed conundrum wise, avoiding the obtuse or completely illogical.
A couple of times I was left
scratching my head as a result of a failed trigger, so it is worth
looking at almost everything and poking around in places even when you
have no more reason to do so other than simply being inquisitive. On the
odd occasion I also couldn’t combine things until (seemingly) I had a
reason to do so, which was mildly frustrating in hindsight. Apart from
that though, it was pretty much irritant free.
It does get a bit wordy at
times, and there were parts where I wanted to be able to do something
rather than just talk more. However the conversations – varying from
exposition to friendly banter to idle chit chat – all add to the depth
of both the unfolding events and characterisations. All too are well
voiced, and apart from Ben the bear, not at all irritating, either
aurally or personality wise.
The graphic style well suits the
feel of the quest, and despite its rather childlike look manages to
carry off a whole range of more adult emotions and events. Certainly
there is a girlish charm about Anna, and talking bears and fixes suggest
a gentle narrative, but it is richer and deeper than it at first
appears. Threads become entwined, seemingly bit characters get drawn
back into more central roles, and perceptions about many of them change
or at least develop.
Anna is pivotal. She has the
frailties of a child, as well as the same fierce determination to get
what she wants. A tad precocious, she was what started things for the
designer, Australian Dane Krams. Whether she was imbued with all the
qualities she comes to exhibit, or whether they grew as the game
developed I don’t know, but she was a good place to start.
The game is all about the quest,
and the story, and you can find that out for yourself. Like much about
this game, it is deceptively more than it first appears.
The game plays in the third
person, with the mouse used to interact with the world. Right click to
look, left to interact and move, and wheel scroll to bring up the
inventory. Escape brings the menu, from which you can save and fiddle
with the settings.
The music and sound never get
overbearing, the inventory items never get overwhelming, and Anna and
the others will keep things engaging. Hard core adventurers might find
it a little easy, but it’s really a sum of its parts type of thing. All
of them came together to produce a quest that I enjoyed far more than I
thought I would.
Grade: B plus
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
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