A.N.N.E – First Look (PC)

Planet Gomi is a beautiful but treacherous place. With clear blue skies and shimmering lakes, it appears to be the ideal place to relax and get away from it all. This is not the case however; it is positively crawling with creatures and agents that want to deactivate your circuits. To make matters worse, your girlfriend “A.N.N.E” has been taken to Gomi to be dismantled and disposed of. Playing as Number 25, collect the components of your busted and broken robot girlfriend, and smash those who stand in your way.
A.N.N.E by Moise Breton (of GamesByMo) is the culmination of his lifelong obsession with videogames. Channelling a number of gaming’s greatest titles, A.N.N.E isn’t tied down to just one genre. The exploration and puzzle-solving influences of Metroid are very heavily present in the game. The art-style is reminiscent of Cave Story, but with modern flourishes and effects. Additionally, piloting 25’s ship “The Great Whale” harkens back to the combat of games like Gradius. Luckily all influences compliment one-another to form a game that is simple in appearance but elaborate in its breadth of gameplay.

With a Kickstarter campaign currently in full-swing – 20 days left to go at the time of writing – and the target goal more than half met, we were lucky enough to get our hands on an early preview build.

The underground section we played was home to caves full of enemy slimeballs, and a laboratory-like structure. Action is very clearly influenced by Metroid in this area. Leaping from platform to platform, while avoiding enemy fire is the order of the day.
Enemies are dispatched using Number 25’s trusty laser pistol. In the finished game there will be a variety of weapon types as well as upgrades available. Sadly the pistol was the only weapon available in the demo.

Levelling up is similar in fashion to Cave Story. As enemies are killed they drop energy crystals. Collecting them allows Number 25 to upgrade components of his ship and his weapons. The overworld environment is bright, colourful and has the cutest, most laidback music I have ever heard. Out here is where 25’s ship is located.

Piloting The Great Wale is both entertaining, and a cinch. Not only does it allow you to take on larger enemies that may be troublesome on foot, it allows Number 25 to create new paths. Using its trusty tractor beam boulders can be moved to unblock pathways and also grant access to out of reach areas. Unfortunately space combat shown in the Kickstarter launch trailer was not available to play.

In the demo Number 25 needs to collect parts of his dismantled girlfriend. A body of water prevents him from doing so. In order to cross it he is tasked with collecting enough wood planks to create a raft to traverse it. Normally this kind of fetch quest would be tedious, but the world is brimming with enemies, colour and character; it was a joy to complete the task.
This is where our brief taster of A.N.N.E ended. The core platform-game mechanics, combat, and ship controls were all highlighted in our taster session. While I am sad the experience was so brief, it has whet my appetite for the end product.

Ambitious stretch goals for iOS, PSN, and WiiU are planned. Having played the taster, I am positively bursting with excitement at the prospect of playing A.N.N.E on my PS Vita or iPod.

Give it a thumbs up on Steam Greenlight while you are at it.