The point and click genre and myself have a weird history. The first series of P&C games I played were Broken Sword and I loved them, I found the puzzles challenging, but not too obtuse, they managed to hit that perfect balance. On the other end of the spectrum you have the LucasArts output of Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. And I just didn’t understand them. I understand this could be considered blasphemy, but my brain was incapable of understanding the logic behind all the puzzles. It didn’t make any sense, so when people would explain the puzzle solutions as if they were just normal, everyday things you would try, my head did the Scanners.gif. Anna’s Quest, which is now available on Nintendo Switch, is thankfully more in the former category.
Anna’s Quest follows Anna as she must, initially, escape the clutches of an evil witch and find a cure to help her sick grandfather, all presented in this wonderful storybook style. It feels like a classic childrens novel, with it’s whimsical dialogue and mild terror. The kind of childrens story I would be read when I was a child that I look back on now shocked at how messed up it all was. Because despite the great childlike look of everything, there are skeletons, ghosts and other creatures that go bump in the night. Oh, and a walking, talking teddy bear!
From a gameplay perspective this is standard point and click fare, but with a slightly worse control scheme. Maybe it’s just the otther games in the genre I’ve played, but on console those would always control with an onscreen mouse cursor that you would control with the analogue stick. This isn’t like that. As you move closer to interactible objects then a small circle appears, you then use the right stick to cycle through them if their are multiple in the same area that Anna is standing. It’s a little clunky as sometimes I would press left only for the cursor to jump to something completely different. I guess this is a mild annoyance as it’s not like there’s a time limit on what you need to accomplish. Still, I would’ve preferred more control over what I was interacting with.
As you explore each environment you can examine, interact and combine items that you find. It’s standard point and click fare and for the most part, the puzzle solutions do make sense, apart from a couple. Some puzzles I had to look at a guide, and promptly slapped myself after the solution became clear. The ones you figure out on your own though give you that rush of cleverness where you feel like the smartest person in the world. Until the next room and you’re at a loss again. It’s that gameplay loop that really helped me get invested in Anna’s Quest, well, that and the impressive story telling.
One new gimmick it has though is the telekenetic powers of Anna. Early on in the game you discover that Anna has special powers, and with the right trigger can activate telekinesis. This is another puzzle solving ability that should be tried on anything and everything. Except for animals as Anna will gently scold you for trying to hurt the poor defenceless creatures.
I’ve already spoken about the games impressive visual style and adding to the presentation as well is the voice acting. Pretty much every character is well acted, adding humour to the otherwise dark story.
At around ten hours, Anna’s Quest doesn’t outstay its welcome. If you’ve played all the classic point and click games to death and are looking for something new, with an interesting story and characters, then Anna’s Quest may be the game for you.