The graphic/point ‘n click adventure game is one that is in danger of dying out. There have been a few recent attempts at keeping the genre alive with the likes of Thimbleweed Park and Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Dry Twice. Me personally, I love the genre and I spent a great deal of collective hours through the nineties playing them. It is great to see that devs today are still making them. The very dull-sounding Anna’s Quest from developer Krams Design and publisher Daedalic Entertainment is a new-ish point ‘n click adventure game on the market. I say ‘new-ish’ as it was originally released in 2015 on PC (technically the first episode was released in 2012 before it was finished and released as a full game in 2015), but it has much more recently seen a port to all the consoles. But the big question is, is Anna’s Quest a good graphic adventure game, or is it as boringly beige as the title sounds? Let’s find out.
Okay, so I was originally going to do this bit where I drag out how mind-numbingly dull this game is, using its bland and uninspired title as a running gag. However, I can’t do that because Anna’s Quest is amazing. Before I get into the meat of this review, I may as well just get it out there just how much I fell in love with this game. Just look at the trailer up there ^^^, that is a gorgeous looking game. Beautiful hand-drawn art that looks like something from a children’s fairy tale book. The animation is also exquisite, simple and yet stunningly handsome. Yet, that trailer (as nice as it looks) really does not do the game justice. There are some scenes in this game that look like they’ve been produced by top Hollywood animators and not by a small indie game studio. The attention to detail, dramatic camera angles and more really do impress on a nice big TV. This is the best-looking game I have played this year so far. But of course, it’s not all about looks. What makes a point ‘n click adventure game work is its story, characters and its puzzles.
Thankfully, in terms of the story, Anna’s Quest hits all the right notes. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I really do think this is a story you need to experience for yourself. I’ll just give you the set-up for the game without going into spoilers. So you play as Anna and Anna lives with her grandfather on a farm near a deep and dark forest. Gramps is always telling Anna to stay away from the forest as it houses many a danger. Anna, being the good little girl that she is, obeyed her grandfather’s wishes… Until one day when Grapms became ill. Anna has no choice but to venture out to try and find help or a cure, something to make her grandfather healthy again. When Anna ventures into the forest that she had always been told to stay away from, she is kidnapped by a wicked witch and locked away in a tower. The witch conducts various experiments on Anna believing that she has some special powers. Turns out that she does too as it is soon discovered that Anna has telekinetic powers. After befriending a talking teddy bear (trust me, it makes sense in the story), Anna and Ted escape the tower and embark on a quest that draws heavily from classic Grimm fairy tales and European folklore. Seriously, Anna’s Quest looks nice and cute… But it really gets very dark and twisted along the way, all topped off with a very macabre and wonderful sense of humour.
Anna’s Quest is split over six chapters, each chapter based on a location and each one being distinctly unique. Once you finish the tutorial/locked in the tower intro, the game really opens up and you get to see just how lovingly designed the world is. Game mechanics-wise, this is typical point ‘n click stuff. Move your cursor around the screen, find objects to pick up/interact with. Use items, solve puzzles and progress through the story. There are a couple, of handy features that make the gameplay much more fluid. You can flick between items of interest on the screen at the touch of a button, this highlights what can be used and examined, so you’re not just randomly clicking around trying to find something to do. You can also highlight any items that can be picked up too. Two nice gameplay mechanics that just make navigating the game much more fluid and fun.
As for the puzzles that drive the game, I never found any of them to be overly obnoxious as you often find with point ‘n click games. Yeah sure, some of them had me stumped for a while, but the solution was always logical and I just needed to readjust my thinking to make it work. There’s even a slight sense of freedom while making your way through the game too. There is always the main plot to stick to, but many of the quests in the game can be completed in a non-linear order. I never felt lost here either, I didn’t need hints or any kind of in-game journal to keep track of where I was or what to do. Everything is just so well crafted that progress through the game felt smooth and uncomplicated. Everything leads to a really quite brilliant ending too.
All in all, I got about eight or so hours out of Anna’s Quest and it really left me wanting more too. There are a few niggles I have. The voice acting is very hit and miss, often it sounds like the actors are just reading off a script with very little emotion or depth to the acting. There are a couple of mini-games that do get a tad annoying and really don’t need to be here at all. Thankfully, the minigames can be skipped and are not important to the plot.
I’m not going to say that Anna’s Quest is the best game I have played so far this year… But I will say it is the most enjoyable game I have played so far in 2021. It is just so well crafted, from its art and animation to the story and characters. Anna’s Quest is simply beautiful and certainly not the boring, beige game I was expecting just going off the title.
As I write this sentence right now, Anna’s Quest is 90% off on Steam and priced just £1.49 (until the 8th of July). That is a crazy, insane price for a game this well made. Buy a copy now, buy five copies for friends. As for the console versions? They come in at £17.99 (Xbox), £15.99 (PS) and £16.99 (Switch), for me, that does seem a little bit steep (full price on Steam is £14.99). Still, Anna’s Quest is a brilliant title, but it being £18 brilliant is really perhaps pushing it a little too far, £15 feels about right to me. Still, this is a must buy if you are a point ‘n click adventure fan. I quite genuinely love this game.