Anna’s Quest – Review
Follow Genre: Point-and-click Adventure
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platform: Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Anna’s Quest – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: A well-written, bittersweet story
Bad: Poor audio quality for voice performances
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Whether it’s the engaging fantasy stories of The Dark Eye, the crude humor of Leisure Suit Larry, or the bizarre Monty Python-esque situations from The Procession to Calvary, it seems like there is a point-and-click adventure available on the Switch for everyone. Standing tall in the ocean of choice are the offerings of Daedalic Entertainment, who have cemented themselves as the modern-day equivalent of LucasArts. The latest addition to their Switch library, Anna’s Quest received high praise when it originally launched on PC in 2015. We took a look at the Switch port of Anna’s Quest to see whether it stood the test of time and if it’s worth (re)visiting six years after its debut.

Story

Anna’s Quest offers up a modern take on the classic fairy tale formula. The narrative centers around the titular Anna, who lives with her beloved Grandpa on a farm at the edge of the dark woods. The pair live a carefree and happy life, with Anna’s only concern being to never venture into the forest as it is inhabited by the wicked witch Winfriede. However, when Grandpa becomes sick, Anna has no choice but to head into the woods after all, in order to find a cure. Unfortunately for our plucky heroïne, she is almost immediately captured by Winfriede, who proceeds to perform a series of horrible experiments on the young girl. These experiments awaken a latent telekinetic ability in Anna, however, allowing her to escape the witch’s clutches. With her new powers unlocked, Anna sets out to seek the cure for Grandpa’s illness.

What follows is a well-written and heartfelt adventure that will take you on a twelve-hour-ish emotional rollercoaster that ultimately culminates in a bittersweet finale. What makes the game’s narrative stand out is Anna’s growth as a character, as she evolves from a diminutive and mousy girl into a strong and confident young woman. The risky situations Anna finds herself in bring along a wide range of characters and creatures, and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into fleshing out the world and its inhabitants. The overarching story grows increasingly complex as you progress through the game, and it isn’t afraid to touch upon some darker themes, and morally questionable situations are usually left grey rather than black or white. Make no mistake, this is still a family-oriented affair, but we do suggest that parents play the game together with younger children as they might find some of the game’s events difficult to understand. It’s clear that Anna’s Quest wants to be a memorable affair through its story rather than through its gameplay, and the game succeeds in doing so.

In this way, it’s not too different from the fairy tales of old, at least when looking at the original versions, and not the Disneyfied happily ever after versions that have been rammed through our throats for decades. This is emphasized by strong characterization and characters acting realistically. Anna herself starts out as a naive goody two shoes but her naivety will lead to her being cheated and taken advantage of. It’s occasionally jarring and painful to see the young girl being confronted with the reality of a harsher world, but it also adds a level of realism. Likewise, every other character in the game has some inherent flaws and none of them completely fit the stereotypes we’ve gotten used to expecting. The narrative takes a few unexpected twists and turns and we challenge anyone to not shed at least a single tear by the time the credits roll.

Graphics

The gorgeous hand-drawn illustration style that defines Anna’s Quest’s visuals is yet another highlight of the game. The game is definitely easy on the eyes, although the cutesy aesthetics can be somewhat misleading as they make Anna’s Quest look like a game aimed purely at the younger crowd. The city of Wunderhorn in particular stands out as a visual treat, with gorgeous lighting effects and loads of little secrets to discover. Anna’s Quest is best enjoyed in docked mode, rather than as a handheld title so that the game’s myriad of details really get a chance to shine. Given the relatively simplistic nature of the graphics, the game isn’t too taxing on the Switch either and the game’s performance is fantastic as a result.

Sound

The game is fully voice acted, and although not every performance is stellar, overall the cast does an adequate job. The game does suffer from occasional poor audio compression, which is especially noticeable when playing with headphones, and the sound quality suffers somewhat as a result. It’s not noticeable enough to really detract from the game experience but it can be annoying. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what a character is saying, unless you refer to the game’s subtitles. Surprisingly, the game’s music and ambient sounds don’t suffer this fate and their sound quality is good.

Gameplay

From a gameplay perspective, Anna’s Quest is a run-of-the-mill experience for the most part, and anyone familiar with point-and-click titles should feel right at home here. The game attempts to shake things up through Anna’s telekinesis ability, which is somewhat reminiscent of what we’ve seen in the Dark Eye games, which coïncidentally are also published by Daedalic. Anna is reluctant to use her ability, however, and it is only really utilized when absolutely necessary. The majority of the game relies on the basic point-and-click experience that we’ve seen with most other games in the genre. The game follows a fairly linear structure that flows intuitively, which makes sense given the family-oriented nature of the game. A game like this needs to be accessible to the younger crowd after all. There is a gradual but noticeable shift in how puzzles are handled throughout Anna’s Quest, with earlier challenges far more based on objects Anna has in her inventory and later ones requiring the player to think out of the box and use their limited resources in different manners.

Anna’s Quest is divided into six episodes, which will roughly run you two hours each to complete. Each episode offers up a series of objectives as well as several sidequests. Individually, objectives are fairly easy to achieve, in theory at least, but completing one typically requires you to perform various other tasks in order to acquire the right tools for the job, and you’ll need to often complete these in a specific order. More often than not, you’ll set out to mark off a specific objective, and then get sidetracked and end up completing several other tasks before you finish up the thing you set out to do in the first place. Some of the more elaborate side quests require you to play minigames, but you can actually skip these if you want.

At the end of the day, however, Anna’s Quest doesn’t really do anything new or special with its core gameplay, but it doesn’t need to because the narrative it brings to the table is something special and the game knows it. Daedalic have proven multiple times that they are masters of the point-and-click genre, and with Anna’s Quest, they show that they know to dial things down when it comes to puzzles and gameplay in order to give a game’s narrative a chance to truly shine. We’d go as far as to say that Anna’s Quest is the best Switch port in Daedalic’s library so far, which is saying something given the consistent degree of quality we’ve seen with their releases.

Conclusion

Beneath Anna’s Quest’s cuddly exterior lies a surprisingly deep and complex fairy tale about coming of age. While the core gameplay experience might not bring anything new to the table, it’s the fantastic storytelling and characterization that make this game one of the best point-and-click adventure titles available on the Switch. The game isn’t optimized for handheld mode, as the audio issues are especially apparent while using headphones and the visual details really make for a game that is best enjoyed on a screen that’s significantly larger than that of the Switch itself. This means if you have a Switch Lite, be aware that you won’t be able to enjoy Anna’s Quest to the fullest. If you’re playing on any of the other platforms the game is available on, Anna’s Quest is an easy recommendation

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Anna's Quest - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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