Every now and then, I enjoy a good exploration game that only lasts a few hours. When we got the chance to review AnShi, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to dive into a short, cinematic game again. I dedicated a few hours of my Sunday to this game by developer Andre Ledermüller and publisher Heideland GameWorks, getting you this review just in time for the release of AnShi. If you want to pick up a copy, the game has released today on Steam!
It took us 4 hours to finish AnShi on PC.
What we liked!
- Soundtrack: The absolute winner of this game is its soundtrack by Devel Sullivan. It felt like the mood that the soundtrack set, was just perfect throughout this entire game. It complimented, and even guided, the gaming experience in a way that I haven’t seen a lot before in games. I muted the game for 15 minutes, just to see how much that would affect the gameplay, and I definitely do not recommend turning off the sound for a single second. The music honestly brings the whole game together! There are also decent sound effects, by the way.
- Graphics: Alongside a great musical component, is some pretty good graphical work. I enjoyed traveling through the various zones, like a desert, a spaceship, and an old temple. The graphics weren’t ‘out of this world awesome’ or something, but I very much enjoyed myself looking at everything. Especially when there was a lot of light going on, everything looked so cute.
- Simple gameplay: The gameplay is very straightforward. You either walk or run, or you use your hoverboard. I preferred the hoverboard, especially in the desert zone, because damn, I felt like I was flying through that zone. Besides this, the only controls you really need are a single button (E on keyboard or B on a controller). The game recommends using a controller, and I very much support this! It’s also a very linear game, yet still allowing some extra exploration. You will almost always know where to go, thanks to beams in the sky showing you the way. You can wander a bit off, but the map has an invisible wall so you can’t go too far. I got lost in zone 4 for quite a while, though, but that’s probably just me. In every zone, you basically gather three memories before moving on to the next zone. There are also artifacts to be found scattered around the zones, but I didn’t focus on this and thus, barely found any.
- Length: On the developer’s website, the game is described as ‘a relaxing cinematic movie-length sci-fi adventure set on an alien planet’. I thought the game would be around 1.5 to 2 hours. I ended up finishing the game in 4 hours. It could have been like half an hour less if I didn’t get myself stuck in zone 4, but it still would’ve been like 3.5 hours. I don’t feel like this is really a ‘movie length’ adventure though? I expected the game to be even shorter. This, of course, isn’t a big flaw of the game or whatever, but I thought it’d be worth mentioning.
- Confusion: There is no real dialogue in AnShi, and that really adds to the likability of the game. However, I did find myself confused a lot during the game. Everything is uncovered by gathering the various memories, but I still found myself a little lost in the meaning sometimes. I wasn’t always sure what was happening, but still found the ending to be emotional, so I guess the developers did manage to get a message through.
What we disliked
- Camera: At times, the camera work didn’t feel very smooth. My alien character got stuck sometimes. Luckily, I always got out but some random jumping and running were necessary. This annoyed me a little sometimes because I like exploring little corners and stuff, and that definitely was not the intention in this game. My character also seemed to slide a little to the left or right every now and then, when I wasn’t moving him, and this just felt like a little bug that might need fixing.
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