fri 03/04/2020

Anna's Quest | reviews, news & interviews

Anna's Quest

Anna's Quest

Fairytale wanderings with a semi-comatose telekinetic - *Nnnnh!*

'Anna's Quest': the kid better move faster than she talksAnna's Quest, Daedalic Entertainment, Krams Design

Congratulations, Krams. After three long years of chapter by chapter instalments, the epic fairytale is complete. Fans who have been following the wanderings of the heavily sedated Anna and her companions since 2012 can now see the whole story in context, and new players can see an end in sight, which is helpful because playing through the first chapter is akin to pulling teeth.

Congratulations, Krams. After three long years of chapter by chapter instalments, the epic fairytale is complete. Fans who have been following the wanderings of the heavily sedated Anna and her companions since 2012 can now see the whole story in context, and new players can see an end in sight, which is helpful because playing through the first chapter is akin to pulling teeth.

Poor little Anna seems to be surrounded by adults with a Fritzel complex. Grandpa wants to keep her locked in their farm away from the dangerous outside world, and the evil witch Winfriede wants to keep her locked in a tower so she can scientifically experiment on her. When the results of these experiments cause Anna to (all of a sudden!?) develop telekinetic abilities, she sees that her grandpa is cursed and will die if she doesn’t escape the witch and find a cure.

So far so cutesy, but a typical fairytale premise can always be forgiven if there is an edge to it, and as the game develops it’s clear there is a major story evolving with some very interesting themes. Science versus magic, sibling rivalry, childhood tragedies and the legacies of loss, all make it into this great adventure story. Unfortunately you have to wade through some seriously sterile game play to get to it.

As point-and-clicks go this is child’s play, and indeed I would recommend this as a kid’s game if it weren’t for the unrelenting regimentality of action order. If you try and show a little initiative and do something early, the game will stymie you into going backwards and following its procedure. The amount of times I was forced to look/action click on the same objects several times before the game registered new knowledge and allowed me to proceed was infuriating and slowed down what is already a very slow game.

Anna's QuestAnother thing that slows the pace to an almost terminal level is Anna herself. Why oh why you would hire a voice actress who sounds as though she’s permanently coming out of a coma is beyond me. Sickly sweet doesn’t even describe it - sickly certainly; she’s so nasal she sounds like she’s got a cold. Nauseating too, as she simpers her way through dialogue like a kicked puppy. And she isn’t the only culprit. Some of the other actors sound so uncertain of their dialogue you can almost hear them turning the script pages as they read.

There is nothing worse, nothing that can do more irreparable damage to a game, than bad voice acting. Your pixels can be pathetic, your sound can be shoddy, your story can be stupid and your music can be more odious than melodious, but with a couple of talented voice actors (and they’re really not that hard to find), all can be saved! All you have to do is make sure they’ve had at least a half hour to practice their lines before you record them. Then there’s the music, which isn’t even worth mentioning.

There are, however, some brilliant characters in this game who totally outshine the others. The Swan Prince is hilarious, Ben the bear is lovely, Reynard the kinky fox sounds like a confused James Mason and Rinkrank will make you wet yourself with glee. Winfriede is so gloriously wicked and charismatic that, when we meet her as a teenager, I couldn’t help but think Anna would have been so much more engaging if she was more like her (controversial).

This is a wonderful story with barbaric mechanics, but if you can tolerate the lackadaisical main character you are rewarded with some absolute gems, and a climax which will leave you emotionally stirred.

Helen K Parker on Twitter

Nothing can do more irreparable damage to a game than bad voice acting

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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