Whereas Anomaly Agent’s dazzling colors and far-future setting might trace at a sport on the leading edge, the reality is that it’s extra of a comfy soup than a daring experiment. Taking on the sport’s controls is like lifting the lid on a pot stuffed with acquainted substances: Basic 2D beat-’em-up gameplay; crunchy pixel artwork graphics; offbeat cyberpunk humour; an ever-evolving suite of combos and skills; the procuring listing goes on. And whereas the resultant aroma might not ship your thoughts to any thrilling new locations, like the most effective of soups it is going to present a comforting feeling of heat, and a healthful gaming expertise for the tip of an extended day.
Anomaly Agent sees you slipping into the fashionable footwear of Agent 70, an worker of the much-maligned TDAY company who serves as a fixer for issues within the sport’s cyberpunk multiverse. You’ll observe him as he jumps between dimensions by way of portals, sorting the anomalies he encounters in every new space like he’s the protagonist of a extra pixelated Physician Who. And a extra violent one too, would possibly I add: The Physician would recoil in horror if he noticed the physique rely racked up by Agent 70 in a single degree alone, by no means thoughts the usually brutal strategies by which he goes about attaining it. Maybe that’s to be anticipated thoughts you: he’s 23 ranks above infamous assassin Agent 47, in any case.
Right here Comes The Beatdown
This wanton destruction, or beat-’em-up gameplay in additional customary parlance, is the meat within the Anomaly Agent soup, and it’s seasoned to perfection. You’ll begin off with a fundamental melee combo and an evasive roll, pulled straight out of the Darkish Souls faculty of fight design, however earlier than you recognize it you’ll be juggling double-jumps, ranged weapons, parries, and particular strikes all inside the identical assault chain, dodging forwards and backwards between foes to maintain these i-frames intact. It’s completely exhilarating while you’re within the zone, and the music does an excellent job of reinforcing the sensation of stream that such advanced encounters carry.
The enemy choice within the sport performs to this method’s strengths. There are only some totally different enemy sorts, however every feels distinct sufficient to make you alter your method. Melee opponents can typically be parried for a straightforward stun, for instance, whereas these packing shotguns will should be dodged via and punished from behind. Irrespective of which foe you’re dealing with, nonetheless, all of them have chunky well being bars, letting you profit from your expansive fight arsenal fairly than taking place to a couple hits of a fundamental combo. Primary enemies may even merge with others to create extra highly effective variations, including an additional layer of depth to the sport’s frequent multi-enemy encounters.
A Troublesome State of affairs
Such battles might be thrilling, however they’re additionally the place a few of the sport’s most notable cracks start to point out. Enemies prepared up and ship assaults extremely rapidly, which makes for tense fights in teams of 1 or two, however irritating messes in teams of three or extra. Attempting to take care of a number of melee foes directly whereas a ranged enemy takes photographs from throughout the room is a state of affairs that’s laborious to return away from unscathed, and a single mistake can rapidly spiral into an unfair dying given the sport’s lack of i-frames on harm.
It may be irritating to die nigh-immediately to a big group, with no clear indicators of what went unsuitable and even what finally killed you, however fortunately the sport is sort of lenient in the remainder of its problem design. Your well being is absolutely restored with every new room that you just enter, and dying will solely ever ship you again to the beginning of the room that you just’re in. Which means that, not like the beat-’em-ups of previous, Anomaly Agent is just not an endurance marathon however fairly a sequence of brief sprints. You don’t must show you may survive a full 20-minute stage right here, simply the 2-minute part you’re in proper now. This can be a beautiful concession to fashionable problem preferences and, mixed with an absence of a lives system or any actual penalty for dying, contributes tremendously to the cosy really feel we mentioned earlier.
Story As Previous As Time Journey
One other main think about that is the sport’s story: the wealthy inventory in our more and more tortured soup metaphor. Whereas it might’ve been straightforward to lean into the edgy, cool-guy power-fantasy aspect of cyberpunk, Anomaly Agent as an alternative chooses to embrace the style’s potential for the offbeat and the weird, presenting a number of characters that wouldn’t really feel misplaced in a sci-fi sitcom. You’ll meet a perm-sporting wrestler who longs to face you in honourable fight, a flatulent dwarf that may be kicked throughout rooftops, a seemingly omnipresent cybernetic bartender, and plenty of extra moreover.
The eventualities through which you meet these characters are wonderful too. In a single mission you’ll be infiltrating a nightclub that took the time period ‘laser mild’ slightly too actually, whereas in one other you’ll be battling a military of hooded clones on hoverboards as you try to shoot down an enemy zeppelin, dodging bombs all of the whereas. As quickly as I discovered myself ducking and dodging down a tightly-packed hall whereas a large Monty Python hand adopted in pursuit, I knew I used to be in protected arms. Fairly actually.
Discuss Of The City
There’s frequent banter between characters to take pleasure in as properly, and this, too, is robust all through. Agent 70 serves as a wonderful viewers surrogate, continually questioning his weird circumstances in humorous style. You’re typically given a alternative of dialogue choices for responding to characters, and a few of these truly play into one of many sport’s most attention-grabbing concepts: feelings as forex.
Sure dialogue selections will grant you both constructive or destructive emotion factors, relying on whether or not you have been well mannered or impolite, respectively. These can then be exchanged for optimum well being batteries (assume Zelda’s Coronary heart Items) or further cash on the sport’s skill-selling robots. It’s not a really deep system, and also you’ll quickly study to be as well mannered as attainable, since further most well being is extra worthwhile than further cash, however it’s nonetheless a really cool sci-fi idea, and one that might seemingly be expanded in a future replace or sequel.
There are actually extra complaints I might degree at Anomaly Agent. I might dive into the low-impact talent tree, or the janky platforming sections, or the brief total size of the sport, however to take action can be lacking the purpose. The sport’s simplicity, each mechanical and systemic, is a large a part of its enchantment. That is the online game equal of your favorite consolation meals; a tried-and-tested soup recipe that has remained unchanged at the same time as numerous generations have come and gone.
Anomaly wouldn’t suggest a beat-’em-up sport, however Agent sands off the style’s tough edges whereas including a bucketload of coronary heart, offering a clean journey all through with out ever feeling patronisingly straightforward.
In the event you’ve had a troublesome day, and the soup on the range nonetheless has some time to go, then give Anomaly Agent a shot – and lose your self in a less complicated world. For a short time, at the very least.
Substantial beat-’em-up gameplayExcellent pixel artworkBanging soundtrackClever and joke
May be irritating at timesCombat might do with being slowed downShort total run time