Fresh from Kittehface is a new puzzle game calling itself Anode. A simple game with that pick up and play feel to it, and that’s exactly what it is. It will remind you heavily of Tetris, and Columns from the Mega Drive days, but does have it’s own unique twist the keep itself fresh by today’s standards of gaming. But can it not only fit in, but also stand out and grab your attention enough to warrant a purchase? I’m edging towards yes, and here is why.
It has itself a space/sci-fi theme for the menu design, and it looks clean and simple, so nothing that will distract you from the game as you play. Speaking of play, you have several game modes to choose from; Endless, Mission, Time Attack, Race and Multiplayer. All of which have different parameters that give you different ways to win the games. You can also enable, or disable items that can give you that edge in a game. Such as clear half a colour in the bin, hover mode, which temporarily stops you coloured blocks from falling down. Endless is pretty much self-explanatory, Race is against the clock to see how much you can score, and finally Mission. Where you are set random objectives in the game. I found this to be a worthy challenge, and quite fun.
Whilst Anode is fun, it really doesn’t do much to explode on to the scene, more of a creep in through the back door quietly and sit with friends, hoping no one will notice they turned up to the party late. This is not to say it’s a bad game, but you will feel like you have played it all before. The game modes are nothing new, and you will soon find your favourite one and stick with it. For me, I do love the Mission and Endless game modes, in that order too.
Graphically, it is a pretty game for what it is. No issues with lag, or clipping, and is presented well. So I cannot complain there. The music is as dull as ditch water, and given that they went for a sci-fi theme, the certainly dropped the ball on that one. They could have had a dance track, or techno. But a dull, and irritating beat that is so repetitive, you will end up turning down the volume just to be rid of it. At least I did anyway.
Now for the added extra that makes Anode a little bit more unique than it’s peers. You have a Coupler block. What this is, is a triangular grey block that allows you to connect it to another and link different colours together. If done right and you drop in a White Detonator block, any block that is linked to this detonator, will be removed from the board, giving you some huge points. In Multiplayer mode, this is the difference between you and a win. Makes for an exciting time. I will say that local only is a downer, as having online capabilities would have added a new dimension to the game, and added life to it. As it is, you can compete for Leaderboard positions, which is a small consolation prize.
The price for the content you will get is great. I for one am glad to see the developer not go for a greedy route, and this in turn will attract more buyers if they see it on the marketplace. No need to wait for a sale, it really is a good price. 6 game modes, and leaderboard’s? Can’t sniff at that if you ask me. As for my opinion, on whether or not you should buy it, I would say yes. Don’t expect it to break boundaries, and set new standards. It takes the formulas from Tetris and Columns, and adds a little bit to the mix to give Anode a unique look all of it’s own.
For all you achievement fans out there, a lot of the achievements form Anode will come very early on and without trying. In the first 40 minutes, I had 22/33 of them. It will take you time to nail them all, so they are not all easy. But I do like this game to keep playing, especially as my daughter has taken a shine to it as it has colours. Good enough for me, as I can play a real person and not lonely second controller as I thought I would be. The versus mode is solid enough to be the portion of the game that you will turn to when a friend pops round for some couch Co-op and Versus games, as it will bring out the competitive person in anyone. Even I wanted to thrash my daughter, until she won the first game. Note to self: Never take an ADHD child for granted. They are smarter than you may think.
So Anode doesn’t do anything ground breaking, and only adds a little new block to contend with, and I know this doesn’t sound like a reasonable enough excuse to go and buy it, and if I’m honest, I would normally agree with a statement such as that. But given the obvious influences, and the low price, you can always call it a treat to yourself. I have been pleasantly surprised by it, and it could have had some online Versus modes, along with much better music.
Now, for the final verdict. It’s fun, and probably will keep you entertained in short bursts, and with 6 modes of play to occupy you, it wont let you down. You will have seen this type of game all before, and it has very little in terms of new ideas to offer up. But in reality, it is an enjoyable game. I know I will be able to enjoy it for quite some time, as I now have an opponent who will surprise me with some random victories. So grab a copy should this type of game be up your street, and you will find yourself playing more than you expected.
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