The only way I can properly describe this game is to do that annoying thing and compare it to a bunch of other games. Anodyne is Yume Nikki meets NES-era Zelda by way of something resembling Earthbound. Essentially, it’s a weird little exploration game in which players travel through the dream world (sound familiar already?) of the protagonist Young, who makes his way through surreal labyrinthine areas (complete with puzzles!). There is almost no character development, which is OK, but there is seemingly also no binding thread or theme connecting the various recesses of Young’s mind. Somehow, this works. The amazing music and pixel art alone encourages exploration, and the simple grid-based dungeons and corresponding mini-maps are a wonderful touch. Little dashes of humor found in the dialogue and card descriptions are another bonus.
If you like “artsy” and open-ended exploration games like Yume Nikki (or Lisa, for those who are into extremely disturbing things for whatever reason), then Anodyne is just the thing for you! If you’re an extremely hardcore “artsyist,” though, you may just want to play this game on a day that you’re feeling particularly lazy and casual.