Now that A.N.N.E is finally available to play in Early Access, I have played it and I have some thoughts to share on what to expect from this stylish platformer and space shooter hybrid. Article may contain spoilers.
Note: Key provided by the developer.
Firstly, I think it should be mentioned right away that the style and atmosphere in A.N.N.E is fantastic. It's inspired by classic 8-bit and 16-bit games and certainly has a retro feel to it, with plenty of modern touches of course. In a way, the graphical style somewhat reminds me a little of FEZ. The intro video felt a bit like I was about to watch a movie, it's really well done. Although, I should note that when played in the game, the intro movie freezes on me at different points each time but you can skip it when it does (and view it in the install folder, if you wished).
While the basic theme seems a little cliché, it at least doesn't stick to a plain damsel-in-distress story as it flips it based on which character you pick. You will either need to rescue No. 25 or A.N.N.E since you get to choose at the start. Well, rescue perhaps isn't the right word to use once you get a few minutes in you will see why, as your main quest seems to be to collect all the pieces of them…
The mix of gameplay elements here works quite well, with you either running through the world in a platformer style with metroidvania elements, while also being part space shooter once you collect all the pieces needed to be able to use your ship again.
It's a little rough around the edges, with a couple of bugs here and there that I've noticed like boxes spawning half in the floor so you can't move them. Such issues are to be expected from Early Access though. Bugs aside, it has a great feel to it and they've clearly put a lot of effort into the world. Some of it's pretty weird too, like a massive robot platform with moving hands for example:
The boss design is also pretty wild. There I was on my way to collect the last fragment needed for my ship, when this beast stomps on over and stomps all over me!
A.N.N.E has certainly got a lot of what it needs to be a success. Great art, a very interesting world to explore, some wonderful audio and I very much look forward to continue exploring it. The amount of charm here is ridiculous, it's filled me with a true desire to explore every part of it.
It's worth noting, it cannot yet be finished as not all levels are available. Apart from that, no issues with gamepad support as worked great out of the box with the Steam Controller on Manjaro.
You can find A.N.N.E in Early Access on Steam.