Fairy tales are magical and capture children’s and adults imagination from the off. These well-written yet simply structured stories always hide a darker side! Behind the romance and friendships are layers of betrayal and deceit. Death and dishonesty are key components of the plot and this forces the reader to experience a roller-coaster of emotions. Anna’s Quest uses all the clichés to tell its whimsical and amusing story.
Developed by Krams Design and published by Daedalic Entertainment, this is a puzzle point and click adventure game. The overarching story will feel familiar to fans of fantasy children’s novels. You’ll raise a wry smile as each well-trodden element is rolled out. Witches, dragons, wolves, a deep dark wood, and more await your attention. The ideas may lack originality, but the combination of challenging puzzles and bizarre characters leads to a unique experience.
Anna’s Quest borrows heavily from genre-leading titles but does enough to stand out.
If you are a fan of the point and click genre, you’ll quickly realise there is a sense of deja vu. With the comical delivery of Disc World and Monkey Island to the challenge found in Broken Sword, it’s clear to see Krams Design’s influence. It comes as no shock as those games are much-loved and still recognised as market-leading titles. Yet, Anna’s Quest does enough to be considered a unique game on its merit.
The narrative is pretty linear, even though you are free to explore the surrounding area to your heart’s content, you’ll search for clues and objects, listening to the NPCs for hints if needed. Progress depends on hitting a trigger point which is great as any key story-related information or items cannot be missed.
The action is told across six chapters that take you on a crazy and magical fuelled journey. You are trapped in a tower, visit a magical city, explore a palace, held prisoner in hell, and delve into a witch’s memory. It’s all very strange, but adds to the mystical nature of this dark, yet funny, fairy tale.
A little girl with a big secret.
The plot revolves around Anna (it’s called Anna’s Quest, after all). She lives with her grandpa in the middle of a forest where they are safe as long as they don’t leave their farm. He becomes ill one day and Anna refuses to sit by and watch him fade away. She breaks her promise and ventures deep into the woods and this is where her story begins and here is where you discover her big secret.
Anna has a special power she is unaware of, she has the ability of telekinesis! Mustering her strength, she uses her mind to move objects and create paths to help her progress. This forms a major mechanic throughout the story and is complemented nicely with the traditional gathering and combining of items. This additional layer makes solving some problems much harder and will challenge the most logically minded individuals.
Standard game mechanics.
Like most point and click games, Anna’s Quest relies heavily on logic and observation skills. There are many times where you will be stuck, only for the problem to be solved with the most obvious of solutions. It has many facepalm moments as a result, but also contains lots of euphoric eureka instances. I loved the highs and lows of working through each chapter, and this was only topped by the many dysfunctional characters you encounter.
No fairy tale is complete without absurd and larger-than-life characters, Anna’s Quest has this covered with its talking teddy bear, chatty fox, evil witches, bewitched royalty, and more. The cast adds real depth to this colourful adventure and you’ll pray that good defeats evil.
Striking yet simple imagery.
The well-designed chapters have stunning yet simple landscapes for you to look at. The clean images show influences from the Brothers Grimm tales and have a dark and mysterious edge to them. Exploring each area is helped by orbs that highlight points of interest. You don’t have to use these clues if you want to be the next Sherlock Holmes, but I unashamedly use them repeatedly. The gameplay is smooth even though the animation is basic. Though the art style is clean and crisp, its simple approach is reminiscent of older titles.
To add to the ye olde medieval theme, the developers have chosen a folksy whimsical soundtrack. The gameplay is dominated by voice-over work and sound effects rather than its magical music. You’ll chortle and giggle along with the silly jokes and immature comments. The cast is all unique and their character traits are shown perfectly through the dry delivery of their lines. Like its peers, much of the fun is found in the audio, and Anna’s Quest doesn’t let itself down.
The controls are its Achilles’ heel.
Not every game has a weakness, but Anna’s Quest unfortunately does. Its control system is clumsy and shows obvious preferences for the use of Mouse and Keyboard. Selecting points of interest can be hit and miss and the controller sadly cannot match the accuracy of a Mouse. This leads to frustration but doesn’t ruin the game. Perhaps the use of a pointer would have alleviated this issue, making it more enjoyable to use a controller. Other than this problem, the game was simple to control. Combining or using objects was straightforward, and this helped to soften the blow of the aforementioned issues I encountered.
Though the story takes a linear approach, you can and will miss many non-essential items. This doesn’t impact the story, but it is a helpful tool to increase the game’s replay value. Many of the achievements depend on collecting miscellaneous items. So an eye for detail and a nosey sense of entitlement are required to unlock every achievement.
Anna’s Quest is a fun story delivered to a high standard.
The developers should be proud as they’ve created a wonderful game that stands out from its peers. With challenging puzzles, simple but striking artwork, and well-scripted dialogue performed to an excellent standard, Anna’s Quest is a modern classic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Discover your powers, use your logic, and get to your grandpa before it’s too late!