My thoughts on Analgesic's Anodyne (which taken out of context sounds like some sort of Victorian miracle cure) were neatly summarised in the form of this review, which used words like "tapestry" and "sentient shrubs" before awarding the enigmatic Zelda-a-like a big fat 84%. You can bet that I'm intrigued by their follow-up, Even the Ocean, a sidescrolling "contemplation of balance" (read: platformer) comprised of two seemingly intermingling halves. A "motion demo" of the in-development game was released a little while ago, a boxy and prototypical build showing off Even the Ocean's unique mechanics without venturing into content found in the actual game. You can find it here.
Anodyne is the stuff that dreams are made of. Its 16-bit-styled world is a tapestry of lightly strange, largely unexplained locations: you’ll come across a forest, a mountain area, a swirling void populated by leggy sentient shrubs – you know the drill.
As with a real dream, there’s little rhyme or reason as to why it’s assembled the way it is, why a talking rabbit tells you off for your sloppy brushwork or why dead-faced clones seem to gather in empty rooms, accompanied by the sound of chattering crowds. The game merely begins with your character, Young, jumping into this patchwork purgatory from a Dark Souls-style Nexus world, before a Sage – there’s always a Sage – sets him off on his mysterious journey.
When Anodyne developers Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka decided to run a promotion for their top-down surreal adventure on The Pirate Bay, it cost them just $7. In a lengthy blog post, Hogan breaks down the results of that unconventional and cheap form of outreach, revealing that the indie duo accrued an astonishing $12,000 over 72 hours from increased traffic to the game's sale last weekend.
In response to their game appearing on The Pirate Bay, the developers of Anodyne - an atmospheric top-down Zelda-a-like - have hosted their own, official torrent/magnet on the site, in addition to reducing the price of the game (on their website at least) to $1+, until Monday. For the next few days, you can grab the - rather great - dreamlike adventure and pay what you want for it, as long as it's $1 or over.
Anodyne is what happens when you instill Zelda - specifically, the series' 2D highpoint Link's Awakening - with the sort of creepy, surreal atmosphere more often associated with Silent Hill, or Jasper Byrne's nightmarish Lone Survivor. Like the Zelda classic, Anodyne takes place in protagonist Young's subconscious, but his dreams are tad messed up in comparison to Link's relatively cheery Wind-Fish jaunt. Back in September we pointed you towards a demo, but developers Analgesic Productions (AKA Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka) have recently issued a newer one, to coincide with the game's release yesterday.