Anamorphine is a game quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. You play as a man named Tyler, who is married to a brilliant cellist named Elena. Something happens that causes Elena to spiral into depression, and this game examines how this affects not only Elena, but also Tyler and the environment around them.
This isn’t your typical game. You only have the options to move and look around, so there’s no interaction with objects or fail states. There is also almost no dialogue, with the game telling it’s story through imagery and music. Anamorphine is a heavily narratively driven game, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, this isn’t the game for you. I personally enjoyed this style of game play, though, and thought the depiction of depression was accurate and realistic. The graphics were simple yet stunning, and I loved the attention to detail. I also appreciated the fact that the developers Artifact 5 included the option to skip cutscenes that could be triggering for some individuals and also had a content warning that you could read to see what topics are explored.
I do have a couple of complaints about this title, though. The game froze up a lot while I was moving around the different environments, causing me to have to wait for the game to stabilize before continuing my journey. The load screens are also way too long and frequent, and I noticed some slight texture pop-in. These issues aren’t game breaking, but they definitely halted the story and slightly affected the impact of the narrative. The length of the game could also turn some players off. The entire experience took me about an hour to complete during my first play through, and even though there are two endings, which add another hour to the experience if you wish to see both, some may not view this as substantial enough to purchase at full price.
If you’re looking for a unique experience that depicts depression in a highly realistic way and love games that take you on a journey, definitely play Anamorphine. Besides the few small niggles I had, I thoroughly appreciated my time with the game and was emotionally impacted by the story. I thought the overall experience was beautiful and bold, and loved how much research and attention to detail Artifact 5 placed into their creation.
*Anamorphine is available to play now on PS4, PC, Oculus VR, and HTC Vive.
*** All images and videos belong to Artifact 5