The Bewitching of Anodyne
Anodyne is a mystery that I’m dying to unravel.
I’ve recently purchased a 2D platformer with Zelda-like qualities called Anodyne. The game is about a young man named Young. He travels across the land solving different problems, conquering obstacles, and discovering cards to collect. All of this effort will eventually lead you into a confrontation with ‘The Briar.’ Who is the ‘The Briar’? I have no clue myself. In fact, the whole world of Anodyne remains a mystery to me at the moment. I have only recently began my journey, but still I’m a bit lost as to the purpose of defeating this ‘Briar’ guy. It sounds like I’m criticizing the game, but it’s actually the other way around. Anodyne has me completely under its spell. I hardly want to stop playing it once I start. It’s the mystery of the land, the obscurity of the plot, and the indicated deceit surrounding the story that has me on the edge of my seat. I’m just hungry for more clues.
One very big clue could probably be the title itself. I looked up the word Anodyne and Google supplied me with a couple of definitions. Anodyne as an adjective means, “uncontentious or inoffensive, often deliberately so.” Anodyne as a noun means a pain-killing drug or medicine. I’m aware that the game’s website says that you’re actually traveling in his subconscious mind. Perhaps the protagonist is trapped in some sort of coma.
The music is something that deserves to be purchased. The soundtrack is in tune with the game in a way that adds so much to the world of Anodyne. You can hear the mystery, the lurking deceit, and the somewhat brokenness of the world through the music. You can really feel it.
That’s not all that has me intrigued with Anodyne. The game stresses strategy and puzzles in a way that is obviously influenced by the Zelda games. Somehow I like it more when Anodyne does it. I have a feeling strategy will play a big role in how the plot reveals itself. There are many clues in the game that emphasize deception as the player interacts more with the world. The meaning of the clues is clear, yet they still remain elusive.
The mockery and humor in the game is also a big hit with me. For example, the player starts out with a broom as a weapon. The game itself actually mocks you through dumbfounded statements made by the person helping you, and the sarcastic comments from the talking statues. It’s very refreshing for a video game to share my irony. The game had me making sardonic comments on some parts.
For instance, when I ran into the quack that calls himself a salesman.
I thought to myself, “Now that’s what I call gun control. Because I won’t be buying that gun for those prices.” Later on after I helped him with a dilemma, he has the nerve to give me this message.
I thought to myself, “Sure, but you won’t lower those prices, will you?” Not only is the game ironic and funny, but it’s also caught up with the times as well. I met a creature in the forest that informed me he has a Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp account.
You can see by now why I’ve fallen in love with this game. The different people you meet are quite the characters. Everybody has weird quirks, but that’s the beauty of it. The people never say what you might expect them to. One guy dressed in a lobster uniform felt the need to tell me that the mantis shrimp have 16 photoreceptor pigments in their eyes allowing them to see more colors than the human eye. What he said next struck a chord within me. He went on to say that it would probably be amazing and beautiful to see so many colors. But that we find enough ways to hurt each other with the colors we already have. I can’t quote him word for word, but what he said left me frozen for a minute or two. It was somewhat mind-numbing to hear a statement like that being made in a video game like this. A video game with playful graphics that’s supposed to inspire you to be the faithful hero and save the world. Except when you see comments like that being made, it really brings you back to wondering about the plot of Anodyne.
I’ll have to get back to you on that when I finish it. After all, I’ve only just begun the journey. So far, I only have one thing to say about Anodyne, and it’s a quote by Mr. Darcy from the classic Pride & Prejudice. “You have bewitched me, body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you.”