Nostalgia is a sentiment that most people will closely associate to happiness. It happens randomly. One day you’re struck with a fleeting recollection of a favorite TV show or game only to desperately wonder what it was actually called. Searching through sites and wikis provides fond feelings of a time when we were younger and our cares were a lot lighter. We tend to reflect that sentiment into the idea that whatever we’re looking for has to be a masterpiece forgotten in time. For most though, these feelings are dashed when we return to said media and realize it actually wasn’t that delightful. But that’s the thing, we shouldn’t narrowly scope our wistful nostalgia to just happy feelings because media we previously consumed is definitively mixed with all sorts of emotions. Recently announced, Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a modern-day retro recreation that sets out to present nostalgia in all of its moods.
Play as Nova, the Nano Cleaner, who is tasked with collecting dangerous Nano Dust growing throughout New Theland, which then must be returned for recycling to a mysterious entity, only known as the “Center”.
Walk or ride across a lush, moody world. Discover strange characters and places. Shrink into characters and collect Nano Dust through 2D vignette-style gameplay, reminiscent of Anodyne’s gameplay and more.
Discover the true nature of the Nano Dust, Nova, and The Center, in the latest game from Analgesic Productions.
Analgesic Productions consists of indie developers Sean Han Tani and Joni Kittaka. Han Tani is noted for having created the free game All Our Asias that shares the same visual aesthetic as Anodyne 2: Return to Dust. Han Tani is also a composer and instructor of video game music. Working together for some time, Han Tani and Kittaka have most recently released the narrative platformer Event the Ocean. Blending well with Han Tani’s melancholy tunes, Kittaka’s artistic sense seems to pull more at the heart strings. As she describes, “My work tends to focus on reconciling anxieties and insecurities with the desire for kindness, softness, and connection.”
The first title, Anodyne traveled further on the nostalgia train in terms of visual representation. Besides the difference of Super Nintendo 16-bit versus PS1/N64-esque graphics, both titles share the genre characteristic of being a Zelda-lite. Players should expect lush adventuring as you progress through an RPG story encountering unique locales and characters along the way. In this day and age of overly-abundant battle royales and AAA battles for graphical dominance, it’s refreshing to see a title stripped down in order to present a game based on mood.
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is slated to release in early 2019. You can stay up to date on Steam and itch.io. If you simply can’t wait, the original Anodyne is available through multiple outlets. Though the developers note you don’t have to play the first one to understand the upcoming second entry, avid gamers could learn a thing or two experiencing this new nostalgia.