Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Indie Horror: Anna / Anna Extended Edition

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 24, 2014

Anna1Anna is an adventure game that is more-or-less indie and more-or-less horror. And it’s more-or-less horrendously difficult to get all the endings (at least in the Extended Edition, which I played) without some kind of walkthrough. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Billed as “psychological horror,” it’s an adventure where you must piece together pieces of your haunted past.

When the game starts, you are a professor of archaeology who has finally found his way to an old, abandoned sawmill in the mountains that has been haunting his dreams. He hopes it will contain clues about the vision of a beautiful woman you cannot identify. Far out of range of cell phone reception or your college students, you begin your quest for answers.

Just entering the sawmill is a challenge, but it is traditional adventure game fare. You hunt around for potential tools to solve problems, and try various means of combining them, using an object on another object, and moving things around to finally fix the broken mechanism to open the door.

Anna4Once inside, things get spooky. And weird. Not quite so abandoned after all, the old building still has a fire roaring in the oven and candles lit throughout the house (although you still have a trusty flashlight to illuminate what’s in front of you). And there are voices. A woman crying in a room with strange symbols on the door that cannot be opened. Mysterious mannequins that move while your back is turned. And bits and pieces of an old sabot-maker’s story that parallels your own life.

The more you learn about the sawmill (and the living quarters above), the more the house changes, and the harder you can dig for clues about your own missing memories. Are you descending into madness, or are you awakening darker forces that have haunted this place for a very long time. Keep pushing, and the darker truth about the myserious “Anna” that has been haunting your dreams are slowly revealed, tying her to ancient pagan blood rituals. Is “Anna” a supernatural being, or a real person, or a manifestation from your subconsciousness? Is she your protector, your destroyer, or both?

Anna5One interesting twist is that the game allows you to leave the sawmill at any time. Once you do, the game is over. Chicken out whenever you want. 🙂  You will get an appropriate ending … of sorts… depending upon how far you have dug into the secrets of the old sawmill. Another interesting mechanic is the use of “intuitions” which you gain as you dig deeper into events and history. While not really used until the end, they can be combined to form new intuitions, just like inventory items, allowing you to literally piece together facts to get the full story.

Another twist (or factoid) is that the building is based on an actual old derelict sawmill recreated by the developers.

The building itself is pretty small. Even in the extended edition, there are really only something like seven locations (requiring a scene load screen), and all of these locations are dense – maybe two or three rooms and lots of clutter. But these locations are not static – they change over time and as new things become revealed.

Anna is neither a traditional horror game or a traditional adventure game, but something else entirely. It’s full of red herrings and subtle clues as it tells a story of a man’s haunted past that finally catches back up with him.

Filed Under: Adventure Games, Impressions, Indie Horror Games - Comments: Comments are off for this article

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