Parents' Guide to


By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Surreal mental illness trip can be emotionally draining.

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This adventure game tackles heavy subjects of mental illness, but the technical issues, emotionally draining plot, and repetition make this a rough game to fight through. Anamorphine is a game that walks its own path, tackling heavy real-world issues in a way that feels like a head trip and heartache rolled up in a surreal, abstract package. It's hard to call this a "game" since it's more like a story that unfolds around the player. Make no mistake, Anamorphine might be beautiful, but it's far from cheery. This is a hard look at mental health issues and how they not only affect us, but also those closest to us. Watching Tyler's mental state deteriorate as he watches the love of his life slide into depression is both fascinating and disturbing. You can't help but feel like you're invading something deeply personal. But instead of turning away, you're forced to be more focused in your voyeurism in Tyler's mind. After all, it's only through paying close attention to Tyler's fall that you can gain some understanding and make any kind of change.

Despite the solemn story, Anamorphine deserves credit for trying to address a serious topic. Unfortunately, it suffers from some technical issues that can also dampen the player's mood. For starters, it has ridiculously long load times. This is amplified by the repetitive nature of the story, which makes you constantly revisit some areas to see how they've been corrupted by Tyler's mental state. These interruptions disconnect the player from the overall experience and flow of gameplay. Another issue is when the animation stutters during play. This is bad enough in 2D, but it can cause headaches and disorientation if you're playing through a VR unit. While most gaming experiences are meant to entertain and excite, Anamorphine is one that leaves you drained in the end. It might be uncomfortable and awkward, but then again, so is the depression the game's theme is built upon.

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