Anoxemia Review

Anoxemia Review | The oceans…the most unexplored part of the planet. Join  scientist Dr. Bailey, who crashed at the ocean floor with his submarine, while he tries to carry out his mission aided by his drone ATMA. Be careful though: in times of war, the bottom of the ocean hides much more dangers and secrets than you could ever imagine.

 THE GOOD

  • The game atmosphere is great! It’s a mix of loneliness, claustrophobia and sometimes even despair as you see your oxygen meter reaching the end. It resembles the same style as Limbo or Inside, but with its own peculiarities.
  • The gameplay is simple and intuitive. Despite controlling the scientist, as I thought it’d be when I saw the game for the first time, you control his drone. And the scientist goes wherever the drone goes. You have a few tools at your disposal (a sonar, a harpoon and some sort of PEM) and with them you search through underwater caves for oxygen tubes (wait… who left them there?), key items and upgrades to his drone.
  • The story is told by Dr. Bailey’s thoughts and observations,, through a HQ that’s plays between the 38 levels you’ll explore. Not an original one, but a nice approach.
  • Sometimes I had the impression that Dr. Bailey was messing with the fourth wall, with funny lines like ‘I have the impression this Drone is trying to kill me’, when I did something stupid that almost killed him or ‘this drone is acting strange… seems like someone is controlling it’. Compliments here for the scriptwriter.
  • The control schemes are good and responsive. You really feel that you’re underwater, the physics are believable and it’s fun to control a character in new way. It adds another layer of care to your exploration. Who knows what you’re going to find underwater?

 MIXED FEELINGS

  • I understand the minimalism style from the developer. There is no map or any kind of information on the screen. To understand what those shining things are on the screen, or to show how many seconds your oxygen last, or when the drone’s battery runs out, you will have to use your sonar. But using this minimal style, even on the menu seems a little unnecessary.
  • The music (or its absence) helps with the atmosphere. I do have to say that I missed more sound effects in the environment. You’ve got mechanical things and living creatures in there that, sometimes, feel empty or simply not alive. More environmental sounds would have helped with that.
  • Visually the game looks nice, especially the artwork from the loading screens are pure gems. It’s a shame that the in-game graphics don’t match that but it was good enough to really enjoy.

THE BAD

  • The scientist gets stuck in almost every corner. Specially when you’re trying to go faster when you are low on oxygen. The AI could be a little better in this aspect.
  • You’ll come across many puzzles during the game. Switches or mazes, in these gameplay moments you will use elements of the level design like rocks to advance. It doesn’t always work like it should and causes some frustration! The physical aren’t realistic and sometimes, it simply doesn’t work. Like when you want to use a big rock to activate a switch and the rock simply rolls up instead of rolling down. I’m not sure if it was intended to be like this, but it looks like a bug to me.
  • There’s one feature in the game where you use a command for the scientist to stop and wait for you to call him again. It has a limited range: when you go further, the scientist will go after you. It’s a nice thing to do and necessary to overcome some challenges. But sometimes, it doesn’t work. You tell him to stop and he continues after you, usually leading to his death.
  • The game feels a little short. You’ll get stuck in some levels, playing them repeatedly, but it may take no longer than three to four hours for you to finish the 38 levels. You may not agree with me, but since it’s a mix of exploration and puzzle game, I’d like it to last a little longer. I know the game is only €8 so this might be asking a bit too much but a few more levels wouldn’t have hurt.

 Score: 63% | Anoxemia is a good game for those who enjoyed Limbo or other exploration/puzzle games like Submerged. It has a limited gameplay, but it suits this genre. If you’re a completionist, you may find it difficult to understand what some achievments require, but don’t worry and keep playing. They will pop up sometime. Those, like me, who thought it’d be a great adventure, may feel a little disappointed with the game. But you will enjoy it the same way.

Rafael Faria spent seven hours on the game before writing the review, earning 740 Gamerscore. Thanks to the developer for providing the review code.

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