About This Game
Explore the past as you resolve the present in Anamorphine, a surreal adventure of rendered emotions.
Discover what it feels like to lose your grip on reality as you inch closer to the darkest corner of your mind. Anamorphine’s narrative comes together through Tyler’s dream-like memories, contorting and bleeding into each other as his mental state changes. Ideal for environmental exploration and contemplation, the story is told with no dialogue or action button.
Will you confront the past and try to find a way to move on, or will you let it consume you?
- A story-rich setting exploring an evolving relationship.
- A surreal environment without text or language that changes in fantastic ways to represent the protagonist’s feelings.
- Exploration gameplay that resonates with hardcore and new gamers alike. Take your time to uncover secrets and focus on the experience.
Play on a screen or in VR. You can enable VR mode after launching the game.
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel Core i3 2.00 GHz or AMD equivalent
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450 or higher with 2GB Memory
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 10375 MB available space
One way to get around the dreadful but not entirely inaccurate "walking simulator" description: add bicycles and oldschool fps diagonal run! You’re still mostly going to be walking, though.
Anamorphine is a short, phantasmagorical dive into sadness, loss, tragedy, and depression. Though the problems faced by the characters are simple and relatable, they play out across creepy dreamscapes, impossible spaces, and world-bending hallucinatory lands. There’s the faintest bits of what could still be called puzzles, but most of your mental work ought to be spent digging into the metaphors and foreshadowing and the needs, fears, and guilt of the characters.
We’re not dropping any world-shattering truth-bombs here, but it’s nice enough to play a game where so much is expressed figuratively and artfully. Visuals are♥♥♥♥-notch and probably really pay off in VR. Music is exquisite without being intrusive.
It’s hard to talk about the nuts and bolts of the game without giving away big heaps of story, but c’mon. You know yourself. You know whether a two-hour meditation on sadness and guilt told through Escher-esque dreamworlds is up your alley or not.
Okay, let’s be clear… I tend to be a fan of these kinds of unfolding walking simulator adventures that tell some deep story. I loved the Steam games "A Dragon Cancer" and "Fragments of Him" just to name a couple similar to this game.
While I really appreciate what the developers of this title have attempted to do and while I really want to like this game, I just can’t recommend it. I do thank the developers for offering me a free evaluation key, but free Steam keys never influence my review of any game. My job as a YouTube game critic is to be as honest as I can with how I see these games, and Anamorphine fails on so many different points to tell the story that it is trying to paint.
I played the whole game in one of my nightly livestreams which can be seen HERE (Spoiler warning):
My problems with this game:
1) Bizarre and maddeningly frustrating camera twitching (playing the non VR PC only game) that would jerk the camera to random angles all the time while just trying to walk and look around. Oddly these camera fast jerks to random angles never seemed to happen on the bike riding scenes, only when trying to walking around. These happened way too frequently to ignore, sometimes occuring several times per minute. ARGH! I would like to point out that I’ve never played a game like this where I experiened similar frequent random camera jerks.
2) After getting about half way through the game, the motion sickness just trying to finish this game got worse and worse. I think it all started in the lust forest areas with the ocean wave morphing ground that wobbled and moved up and down. The above mention camera twerks didn’t help matters, but the game just had too much image morphing and texture melting I believe that all added to to a game that damn near had me ready to hurl by the end of the story.
3) Unclear paths to take at many points ruined the immersion and only seemed to add to the frustration… It all started with the hospital areas where you needed to walk in a small spiraling circle around and around the hallway corners, looping without purpose to get to the next scene. The canyon area on the bike the first time also seemed to be very frustrating to try and find the intended path.
4) Unnecessary repitition over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over… you get the point yet? You get the point yet? ..You get the point yet? UGH. You don’t have the show the same exact scenes 15 or 20 times to make your point. This again only adds to player frustration and helps destroy any immersion of the story you are trying to tell.
I hate sounding like a critic just tearing this game to shreds because I honestly feel like the developers put a ton of hard work into this game. It almost feels as if they outdid themselves however. I hate to say it, but in the case of this game, I believe I would have enjoyed this same story 10x more if they had just used 2D pixel characters and graphics with no image morphing or fancy camera angles and all.
The graphics are very nice. The music is beautiful and fits the mood of the game very well. And the story could have been a really good story, but it was just too hard to get into with all the above mentioned problems.
To make matters worse, this game is asking $20 USD when games like A Dragon Cancer and Fragments of Him do a much better job at half the price.
This game sadly gets a dismal 1 out of 10 from me. The price tag is way too high. The game has too many immersion breaking problems. And nobody likes playing a game and feeling like they are going to throw up before the story is done? ..If the developers want to know specifics on where I felt sick or where I got stuck while playing their game, I point them no further then to my above linked livestream of their game. I hope that it helps you either in fixing this title or in your future titles.
Not recommended. You could go watch a brand new movie in the theater you’ve been waiting to see as well as buy a large soda for the price this game is asking. No way, Jose! I do however look forward to what these developers release next as I do think they have a lot of talent.
Unfortuntely, the current version has too many issues to recommend it. These issues include bad event triggers, unclear ways forward, repeated content, and disorientation.
With the bad event triggers, sometimes you’ll even be standing or looking in the right place but the next scene just won’t start, so you end up backtracking unnecessarily. This can mean wasting minutes, losing the flow of the game, and generally becoming unnecessarily frustrated.
The unclear pathing is also quite a problem. While the game is set up to have *some* of this on purpose, so that you as a player feel some of the same disorientation as your character, overall it feels less thought out. You end up backtracking when you don’t need to. At times, you can’t tell which way to go to progress the story, only to find out that there’s a path that looks just like the one you were already on but instead moves you along in the story.
One of the nice things about walking sims is that you can get treated to some cool "mini game" style areas where you explore different aspects of the world (like the different character stories in What Remains of Edith Finch). Unfortuntely, in Anamorphine, the developers have chosen to reuse problematic game elements, forcing you to replay "mini game" style areas over and over. Even though they provided some differences, the overall effect feels like one of repetition and tedium without any "aha!" or breakthrough moment.
Sadly, the last of the four caused me to ♥♥♥♥ the game: disorientation which caused motion-sickness. I would have liked to finish it, but simply wasn’t able to get past the area without feeling nauseous. I think this could have been fixed with better play-testing and pathing.
With luck, future versions will address these issues and help Anamorphine live up to its promise.
You progress through the story fluidly without any loading, cut or jump: instead, there are seamless transition across time and space that put you in a dreamlike feeling of not knowing how you got to where you are, nor how to leave. It is beautiful and anxiogenic at once, and it reminds me of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in that regard — that’s definitely a compliment.
Overall, the surrealist imagery does a surprisingly good job of walking you through the somber themes of addiction, loss and escapism. For a narrative built on that subtlety and nuance, it’s a feat of storytelling to entirely avoid words and still get the emotion across.
I only wish there had been more time and scenes to dig deeper into Elena and Tyler’s psyches. Even though I understood their distress, I came just a bit shy of truly identifying and empathizing with them, except for one or two brief but truly touching moments. Regardless, Anamorphine is a giant leap forward in conveying meaning and emotion through mechanics, and I hope we’ll see more of those mind-bending adventures from Artifact 5 in the future.
Walking simulators are an inherently boring genre, meaning it’s really important that your game is engaging and immersive. That’s doubly-true when the game (like this one) tells the story without using any words.
Of the (many) walking simulators with no words I’ve played, this is the best one. The story was pretty good (and told well for not having words); I liked the interaction mechanic; and the music was very fitting.
However, a few glaring issues still hold it back enough to prevent it from making the cut:
• The reused scenery gets old fast. There’s only about 5 scenes in the game that get reused ad nauseum. A few of them are cool the first time you visit them, but should not have been revisited.
• Four or so times in the game, you have to bike through the level. The biking mechanics are extremely poor. Also, in every case, the scenery is really bland. Additionally, they all drone on for way too long. In every case, the biking feel like lazy time-padding.
• A lack of contextual clues had me wandering around looking for where to go next sometimes. This was especially bad in the biking levels..
• The game likes to use the "teleport you to another room while your back is turned" mechanic (think "Antichamber"). Unfortunately it doesn’t always work well, causing the scenery to suddenly shift, which is jarring.
• The price is too high for a game that lasts 80 minutes.
I was truly conflicted whether to give this game a thumbs up or down. If the above issues were fixed, I think I’d give the game a thumbs up, but then it’d only be 30 minutes. As it stands, I think you’re better off trying one of the many better walking sims.
All in all, I liked Anamorphine despite the issues. It tries to escape the common trope of telling the story via notes and audiologs and is almost dialogueless, like Virginia. [VERY MINOR SPOILERS] Also like Virginia, the game uses text at at least one point, and from my point of view, here it is executed in far more interesting way. Even "looping hallway" from P.T. executed better than in many games. [VERY MINOR SPOILERS END] Some visual/gameplay metaphors, scene transitions and images are great, the story itself, while not being the most new and original, is quite good and presented with respect to its themes. It has no puzzles, only "object hunting" (mostly okay, but had problems with finding needed objects one or two times) and disorienting situations meant to represent the mental state of the main character. But it’s not exactly a bad thing – after playing several experiences with frustrating puzzles it felt really nice.
However, there are some problems. Game slowed down and crashed several times, but maybe it’s due to my PC. I was more disappointed by several bike stages with strange collision detection that drag for too long. Some of the transitions and areas can feel repetitive, although areas naturally evolve with the plot, and you get used to transitions. It is also short. For some people it may be a problem especially since many areas are reused, but it’s totally fine with me.
In general, I would recommend the game if you are okay with story experiences with very light gameplay and don’t mind some technical problems and repetition. I found several interesting decisions and scenes in the game and alsmost wasn’t frustrated (bike rides aside, yes), so I am satisfied.
I recieved this game for my Steam Curator page dedicated to weird and obscure games:
I think this game did an amazing job showing what it feels like to be stuck in your own head. Lost in memories that are painful. Looping over and over on the worst times in your life. I understood that and felt that emotional impact. I really did feel the stuck feeling you get when you can’t get out of your head and out of the bad things that happend. And I felt like I understood the story they were trying to tell without ever having any dialogue except for one line and is spoken once.
However there were some things holding it back like the bike parts which need to be streamlined more so you don’t get stuck on rocks. Other than that, the non verbal guidance was perfect and I didn’t get lost or stuck.
I reccomend this game, but not at the price it is at right now. It needs to be cheaper. It’s only about an hour long. However I did not experience it in VR so my perception might be different if I was in VR.
Also as a person who plays violin, I really loved the music. Keep up the good work.