Anamorphine Review- A Sad Tale Marred by Technical Issues

Posted August 8, 2018 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Artifact 5 inc

Publisher: Artifact 5 inc

Release date: July 31, 2018

Available on: PC, PS4 (reviewed), PSVR

Mental illness is a subject rarely tackled in videogames, despite many games having some very disturbed characters. Two recent games, The Town of Light and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice took very different approaches to the subject matter, and both were successful in their own way. Developer Artifact 5 adds to the mix with Anamorphine, a walking simulator that takes you through a couple’s shattered life among scenes of their life and some surrealistic dreamscapes. Sadly, the subject matter is the only thing Anamorphine has in common with the two previously mentioned games.

Anamorphine tells the story of Tyler and Elena, a young couple starting life together. Tyler is a photographer, Elena a musician, and both share a love of bicycling. An accident rocks their world, and both in their own way spiral into depression. The story is told entirely without dialogue and with a suitable graphic style that fits it well. Surrealistic, colorful dreamscapes intrude on images of the couple’s life. Gameplay consists only of walking around, looking for glowing objects, waiting for them to take shape, and then moving along.

Those that despise walking simulators will avoid this like the plague, but at least in the early going the game does relay its story nicely in an interesting fashion. Things seem to be slightly unraveling even before the accident hits, but once that occurs, events begin to rapidly deteriorate. Some genuine emotion does come through, and the game coveys well the sense of hopelessness and despair that those who suffer from depression often feel.

This should have been a decent game, and with its graphical style and simple controls it shouldn’t have been too taxing on any type of engine. Unfortunately, the game is a gigantic buggy mess. I had four game crashes in one spot, and couldn’t proceed until the game was patched on the PS4. Even after the patch the game stopped and stuttered, making some sections outright unplayable. I did not finish the game due to technical issues making it so buggy that I was starting to feel sick playing it. Walking sims should not give one motion sickness, but this mess managed to do just that. Hopefully a future patch or two will fix the issue, since the story is one worth experiencing.

Overall, Anamorphine tells an important story, but many won’t experience it in full due to all of the technical issues that render the game unplayable, at least on the PS4. The PC seems to run a bit better, based on other reviews, but it’s not free of problems. And that’s a shame, really, as the subject matter certainly warrants getting more exposure in games. But the games still need to be playable, and this one sadly is not up to the task. The review score is based on the game’s current state. For now, pass on this one.

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus