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Anuchard is an indie action title from stellarNull and Freedom Games. This is a unique title in that it feels very much like a traditional RPG in regards to its storyline and character development, but it instead goes a more standard action route with its basic controls and easy-to-understand gameplay.
But does this Bellweilder ring all the right bells? Or does this bell have some cracks in it? Let’s find out!
The story of Anuchard follows a young person who ultimately is dubbed The Chosen One and The Bellwielder. Anuchard was a floating island that had it all, guided by 5 ancient Guardians, but when the citizens took their blessings for granted, the Guardians turned away from them and the utopia fell from the skies and broke into pieces. What was left was just a tiny island with a mysterious dungeon.
It was believed that the Guardians were resting within the dungeon, so citizens of Anuchard began to jump into the dungeon to wake them and save their world. Unfortunately, this only resulted in each person turning to stone and never returning to normal. Hurt and broken, the people cried for the Bellwielder, and thankfully they were awaken within a dream.
The story is solid, and it is one of hope, as the goal is to restore Anuchard to its former glory and rescue the many stoned citizens from their unfortunate state. Each of the characters, too, are really well developed, and it is a lot of fun seeing pairs interact and understanding their history based on the conversations at hand. Over the course of the roughly 12-hour campaign, I was heavily invested in what was happening, and even the fun personalities of the Audros Bell (Yes, your bell is a living, breathing trifecta of personalities) add so much more to the already compelling story.
Gameplay in Anuchard is quite rhythmic. Each chapter takes The Bellwielder (you) around the village collecting information and/or being introduced to new things to enhance your quests. Once you are ready, you bring a memento to the gateway, and you make your way to a dungeon where you go through a series of rooms fighting enemies and solving little puzzles. Combat is quite simple, as you only have a couple options initially that let you attack and dash. Some enemies have shields that cannot be broken unless you dash into them, and this definitely mixes things up a bit.
Combat is rather basic and is not where the game shines the most, but it is fun and effective. Most enemy battles are easy to win and do not offer too much of a challenge, but dungeon bosses that you face at the end before saving a citizen can be quite difficult at times. Dungeons do have a decent flow and do not overstay their welcome, and as soon as you finish a dungeon, you are back in the village continuing the story and gaining more access to things the village was lacking prior (As you save certain citizens, services will be brought to the village).
The gameplay loop works well, and it is fun to see the village grow as you progress through the game. New citizens add more life to the village, and it is truly entertaining to see the interactions between existing villagers and returnees. Some of the other fun gameplay elements include cooking and eating, as well as uses items picked up in dungeons to upgrade the village. Like I said before, this is an action game that feels way too much like an RPG, and it truly works well here in Anuchard.
The greatest highlight in Anuchard is, without question, its stunning visuals. This is a gorgeous pixelated game that shines in every way, especially in the pixel art and the world design. The shading particularly makes things in the game stand out so well, and I love the color choices for certain areas.
The sound design and soundtrack are equally fantastic and truly bring life to the lovely artwork. I especially love the quirky gestures and the sounds that go into them when characters are expressing certain emotions throughout the game, and even though it can be viewed as silly at times (The comedy can be quite hit and miss in this game), the design choice lands really well and is consistently great until the end.
The only critique I have, and it is unfortunately a major one, is that the gameplay and honestly the whole experience is quite monotonous. Although the design and artwork are top notch, gameplay can be rather dull because at too many points it feels like you are doing the same thing again. Puzzles are rarely complicated, and enemy battles can get repetitive very quickly. This is too bad, because most the rest of the game is wonderfully made. But considering its roughly 12-hour campaign, any kind of drag that happens more than once can sour the entire experience, which is a shame because the story really is worth playing, particularly to the end.
Anuchard is an action RPG that does a lot of things right while doing one important thing wrong, so that does make it a weird recommend. I do absolutely think it is worth the price and experience, especially for the story, but it is hard to recommend a game that does tends to drag at points, especially the repetitive nature of dungeons.
Despite that, the characters are charming, the story is fun, the artwork is stellar, and the soundtrack is just wonderful. All in all, this is an experience that is well worth the asking price, but at the end of the day, the question you may need to ask yourself is, “Am I willing to invest 12 hours to finish a good story even if the gameplay is quite easy and repetitive?”
Fun and interesting story
Beautiful pixel art work
Fantastic sound design
Quite the monotonous experience
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.