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Anamorphine - PlayStation 4 Review

Anamorphine-Logo-Anamorphine-Concert-500x261 Anamorphine - PlayStation 4 Review

Dealing with pain is something we all must cope with. How we overcome it will solely depend on you and a willingness to seek tranquility.

Game Info

  • System: PlayStation 4/VR, HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift, Steam
  • Publisher: Artifact5
  • Developer: Artifact5
  • Release Date: July 31, 2018
  • Price:$17.99
  • Rating: T
  • Genre: Adventure, 3D Atmospheric, Indie
  • Players: Single Player
  • Official Website: https://anamorphine.com/

Anamorphine Official Trailer

Who it Caters to

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It’s not too often that we run into 3D atmospheric titles, let alone ones that speak on the issues of depression, fighting anxiety and tragic loss. When we ran into Anamorphine, a title created by indie developer Artifact5, we were more than curious to see just how this mixture of real-world circumstances and gaming turned out. On the surface, Anamorphine looks like a very simple title and for the most part it is, as the focus isn’t placed solely on the gameplay but rather on the powerful message it’s trying to convey to you while playing.

We live in a world where we’ve been subjected to a lot of media related ideals, which in turn creates a lot of psychological tension as we no longer can grasp what’s reality vs what society demands from us. This can often lead to a downward spiral of things such as emotional discord, a lack of self awareness and ultimately some forms of depression. Anamorphine is a title that places emphasis on this area to help better educate those who perhaps are suffering from such issues but more so, to help those who are totally oblivious to it.

For anyone who’s looking for an educational experience that talks about issues that perhaps are more gripping than most, Anamorphine is a nice place to start. However, you may experience some real strong emotional moments within the game, so be ready for them. Family conflicts, drug use... it’s all there.

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What to Expect

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Anamorphine is by no means a perfect title and we mean that in the most meaningful way. Artifact5’s goal wasn’t to create this over the top, visually spectacular title; their intention was to paint a more vivid picture on the social landscape that we currently live in. Being in relationships can be tough for both parties since it requires a great deal of commitment but also, the responsibility of looking after not just someone else but more importantly yourself.

While relationships are certainly full of their charms and adventures they often come with their side effects, and while some can deal with these circumstances with clear and insightful communication, others can find themselves in feverish scenarios. When playing Anamorphine it’s important to maintain an open mind and try not to place too much of your focus on the gameplay itself, but more on the context that the game is trying to fully emphasize: depression and trauma.

Now we’re not trying to make it seem like this game will send you down crying to the bathroom but there’s a lot to swallow in Anamorphine, and once you can put all the pieces together you’ll start to see what we mean.

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Gameplay

Visuals

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On a visual level, Anamorphine isn’t overly impressive by any means, as it really tries to maintain a simple approach while placing its focal point on the more touching subject. The 3D models in the game do look decent but they move in a robotic way at times, which takes away from the experience a little. Again, this is why we say that when playing, it’s important to maintain an open mind and not play it like an actual video game, but more of a visual experience.

The game is definitely meant to be played with a VR headset on as you get to feel more immersed with everything happening around you, though playing without one is still worthy enough. Anamorphine uses a great assortment of colors, all of which are used to express some sort of internal emotion with Tyler’s wife, Elena. These strong use of colors is really important, as they tend to paint a vivid picture of what’s actually happening.

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Sound, Music

As far as sound and music is concerned, once again, it’s not really the focal point of the title. While the use of sound is mainly created to generate some emotional connection it’s nothing like you’d expect from your typical video game. The sounds are subtle while the music is used sparingly to convey certain messages better. Sometimes silence speaks louder than the sounds themselves and in Anamorphine it certainly holds clout, especially when you start to dive a little deeper into Tyler’s trauma.

Gameplay

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As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Anamorphine is an educational title and should be played like one. While it certainly feels like a video game and has the characteristics of one, it should be noted that Anamorphine’s approach is one to help you better understand human psychology. The benefit of having it all portrayed through a video game is that many of us can relate to them since they’ve become the norm in our society, making it easier to pick it up and experiment with.

Most of the gameplay consists of you walking around and really trying to piece everything together, whether it be observing Elena studying or playing with her instrument, or the more serious things like counting how many empty pill cups lie around. You walk around in various environments whether it be the bedroom, living room or other areas, and items will pop out by shining differently than others. Those visual cues are what you’ll need to pay attention to as they help the game to progress, but also give you more insight as to what’s currently happening in that phase of Tyler’s mind.

We admit that things felt a bit dry at times and made us wonder just what direction the game was taking us in, but that was mainly due to our spoiled minds being so used to having some sort of action happening on screen. Anamorphine is a slow-paced game and so it will require you to turn off that spoiled brat little mind and really learn to be patient, since you’ll come to better understand the flow of the story. There are no real checkpoints in the game but it will show you visually when you’ve successfully moved onto a new chapter in Tyler’s mind.

One major problem, however, is that the game lags a lot, especially when the it’s trying to transition from one picture frame to another. The game will abruptly freeze and then continue again in a very stutter like fashion, which bugged us a little bit. We know that Anamorphine’s goal isn’t to wow us with its visual appeal or striking game mechanics, but it does certainly affect the flow of the game when things start to bug out on you. You’re trying hard to immerse yourself and are then suddenly taken out of it all because the game either takes very long to load, or it just decides to stutter.

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Be that as it may, Anamorphine is a title that we found to be very interesting as it helped to bring attention to problems that certainly need solving in our precious world. While it certainly cannot be fixed overnight, battling depression —for example— we can find refuge in knowing that answers are out there, and that all we need to do is seek it. Anamorphine shows us the very reality that many of us have to cope with but tries to remind us all that, while things may not go the way you intend them go all obstacles can be dealt with. In the end, the greatest enemy is not the world around you but rather the one within.

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Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Internal pain is truly a serious one, especially when it all starts in the mind. It’s an area where most people still have trouble coping with and we honestly say that majority of it has a lot to do with what we’re subjected to. We’re not professional counsellors on this area but we can encourage those out there who are battling depression to definitely seek out the right individual who can help to understand your emotions, and bring solace into your being. Anamophine was a trip down memory road for us as we had dealt with similar qualms ourselves, but we were able to see through the veil and push forward. We hope that you too can push forward and become better people along the way.

Honey's Pros:

  • Powerful message that definitely hits home.
  • Simple gameplay with more focus placed on the overall theme of dealing with mental disorders, etc.

Honey's Cons:

  • Movement in the game felt laggy.
  • The game did bug out at times, freezing during a transition before coming back again.
  • Very long loading times really took away from the immersion.

Honey's Final Verdict:

We hope you found our review of Anamorphine to be an insightful one, and perhaps give the game a shot to see what you think! Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest games from around the world, and of course hit us up on Twitch to catch us playing all of our reviewed titles live!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Anamorphine-Logo-Anamorphine-Concert-500x261 Anamorphine - PlayStation 4 Review

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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