Review: Anamorphine (PS4)

Anamorphine is one of many walking simulator titles available for the PlayStation 4 and is noticeably similar to the likes of Gone Home and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture in the way it explores very mature themes such as depression, drugs, drinking, and suicide.

Throughout the game you will follow the character of Elena from the perspective of her partner Tyler. The whole game takes place within Tyler’s subconscious and therefore you are replaying memories of times spent with Elena in the past, from going out for bike rides to going out to the theatre. These memories merge together to form levels around you which can be explored like you are experiencing it for the very first time.

As for gameplay, there really isn’t any, as all you are required to do is walk from A to B whilst observing key story items and events that will be highlighted to you. To be honest, Anamorphine doesn’t feel like it was designed to be a game at all – it’s more interactive movie-like, and feels like it was designed to help raise awareness of depression more than anything else. To be fair, this is achieved through the excellent presentation of its environments across its two hour running time: fields of flowers, winding hospital corridors, and a packed theatre.

Although the story is intriguing and helps to raise awareness of depression and how serious mental health issues can be, the whole game suffers terribly from performance issues which ruin a lot of the otherwise great presentation. The loading times are slow and the game stutters, jitters, lags, and freezes while walking through environments. It’s so bad to the point it’s almost unplayable, pausing every minute for 10 seconds or so when all you are doing is walking around. It’s a real shame as there is a lot of potential in the content that is explored within Anamorphine’s story.

The first hour is strong as the environments are surprising and the story developments are interesting enough to keep you playing, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the second hour, as all the environments are recycled in what feels like an easy way to prolong the game. The repetitive end to the game combined with the numerous performance issues make Anamorphine quite the agonising play through.

Conclusion

Anamorphine is a very unique walking simulator which explores very mature themes and has a very well presented intriguing story that successfully raises awareness of depression and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Although Anamorphine’s story is interesting, it ultimately fails to be a truly entertaining and fun experience due to the overwhelming amount of performance issues throughout. If you’re looking for a new walking simulator to enjoy, we’d recommend hopping on your bike and cycling the other way.      

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