I picked up Anodyne 2 on its release date yesterday. If this game had been part of the Sega Saturn’s slate of launch titles… Sega would still be making consoles today.
First off, you do not need to have played Anodyne 1. It’s a spiritual sequel. So far I’ve seen a couple of enemies in common, but no plot linkage. I breezed through the first game in a couple days last week, and I had a pretty good time. This game exceeds it in every way imaginable. Anodyne 1 was a clunky but charming 2013 indie Link’s Awakening clone. This game is a haunted homage to your dearest memories of gaming in 1996, and it feels polished enough to have been a legit sleeper hit at that time.
The game goes as follows: You explore a huge 3D overworld full of fun, weird characters and perfectly shonky platforming. Now and then you encounter somebody who’s been corrupted by sinister “dust” and you have to enter their mind to vacuum it all up. Inside everyone’s mind, it’s Link’s Awakening all the time!
Both gameplay conceits are really well executed. The writing is pretty good, careening between zelda-cute and too-weird-even-for-1996. As in Anodyne 1, there is definitely a love for Earthbound’s tonal shifts and silly-dark writing. I also pick up a lot of Crono Cross vibes here. It seems like the game is attempting something weighty regarding themes of authoritarian purity vs chaotic love. It might pull it off! I’m still early on.
Plus, instead of a run button they let you just straight-up turn into a car whenever you want:
I’m in the second big area and I have to give this game an absolutely unqualified recommendation.