October 1, 2012

Mind Game

Lasting First Impressions of Anna

Developed by Dreampainters

Anna Boxart» Remember how terrified you were when you first played Resident Evil? Well, get ready for the same kind of mind game with Independent developer, Dreampainter’s Anna, a psychological thriller adventure that is sure to stay with you long after playing.  Anna is based on a folklore legend and features the recreation of a real sawmill in Italy using actual photos of the areas in which the story takes place.  It is a first-person horror adventure intent on exploring the darkest depths of the human psyche.  Like an old-school text adventure mixed with a modern day first person game, Anna will take you on a journey that you may be too scared to finish.  To do this game justice, I highly recommend playing with the lights out and headphones on.

Anna features three separate endings that are all dependent on how you play the game and how you solve the mysteries surrounding Anna’s dark past in this abandoned sawmill nestled high in the Italian mountains.  It is not an easy game.  Be prepared to search the same area many times before you realize what you need to do.  Dreampainters did not create a super long game here and fully expect you to be able to complete the game in three hours.  They did successfully create, however, a game that will truly test your bravery.


In my one hour review period, I managed to get into the sawmill and begin piecing together the puzzles to try to get into the second room.  While this isn’t an action game in the vein of Resident Evil, I found my mind always expecting something to jump out and scare me.  This game is more about the psychological horror and the mind games it will play with you.  As I progressed, I would hear whispers from some strange voice, or other strange sounds around me.  Creepy, to say the least. While the outdoor environment was bright and overexposed to make it seem somewhat unreal, the indoor environments were lit only by candles and were very dark and dreary but still retained that photorealistic quality.  As the game progresses and, depending on how you play, the images will alter based on your psychological well-being.  This aspect alone is what makes Anna worthy of multiple playthroughs.


The music in Anna only added to the eerie and creepiness of the game. While the music, using such instruments as violins, keyboards, guitars and vocals, on its own may seem quite peaceful, but set in contrast to the foreboding environment it only managed heightened the inherent fear.  The sound effects in Anna are also astonishing and truly make you feel like you are in the room.  The crackle of a fire in the corner; the drip of water from the ceiling; your footsteps on the wooden floor; all add to the realism of your story.

It may not be a long game, but this independently developed gem is definitely worth adding to any horror genre fan’s collection.  If you love true adventure games and puzzle solving, this is one for you. Be prepared to truly test your psyche.  Can you make it through in one sitting?

Dreampainters, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

For more of my thoughts on this game, be sure to listen to Episode 21 of The OMG! Hour podcast.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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