In this unique Zelda-lite game, explore and fight your way through surreal and creepy, nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young's subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack.
User reviews:
Very Positive (761 reviews) - 85% of the 761 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Mar 22, 2013

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"Simultaneously, the game creates a sensation of lost, but not abandonment. In this, you are in a mysterious world, unfamiliar and bizarre, yet the eerily nostalgic design instills the necessary knowledge to proceed in your adventure."
The Ambivalest

"Sean HTCH and Joni Kittaka have made magic with this game, creating a world that I could be afraid to enter but never want to leave...The locations are vibrant and detailed, going to all manner of different places...[the music] can take the visual mood and shift it into territory that pixel art shouldn't be able to inhabit...I know we're only in February, but this has Game of the Year written all over it."
Mash Those Buttons - 4.7/5

"Anodyne can be as funny and charming as Link’s Awakening on occasion, but the overall tone is one of unease, with a subtle malevolence – the ‘something seems a bit off here’ factor – reminiscent of the indie horror Lone Survivor. Meaning is elusive, but themes and motifs soon begin to take form, in a game that feels increasingly personal the more you burrow into it."
PC Gamer - 84/100

About This Game

In this unique Zelda-lite game, explore and fight your way through surreal and creepy, nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young's subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack. Created by Sean Han-Tani-Chen-Hogan and Joni Kittaka.

They are working on Even The Ocean, a new, grand adventure platformer. Wishlist today.

Because this game was made by a small team, please note there is no customer support for Anodyne available at this time. We recommend the stable Mac and Windows versions. For Linux users, you may have trouble running it if not using Ubuntu. Please request a refund if you are unable to get the game to work. Thank you for your understanding.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS:Windows XP
    • Processor:1.5 GHz, single core
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Any
    • Hard Drive:100 MB HD space
    • Sound:Any
    • Additional:This is not a GPU-intensive game.
    • OS:Windows XP or better
    • Processor:(2.0 GHz, single core) or better
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Any
    • Hard Drive:100 MB HD space
    • Sound:Any
    • Additional:This is not a GPU-intensive game.
    • OS:10.6 or Newer
    • Processor:Intel 1.5 Ghz, single core
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Any
    • Hard Drive:150 MB HD space
    • Sound:Any
    • Additional:This is not a GPU-intensive game.
    • OS:10.6 or Newer
    • Processor:(Intel 2.0 GHz, single core) or better
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Any
    • Hard Drive:150 MB HD space
    • Sound:Any
    • Additional:This is not a GPU-intensive game.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Very Positive (761 reviews)
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621 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Recently Posted
5.3 hrs
Posted: August 9
A beautiful game witth an amazing soundtrack.
It can also be really challenging.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
All Might
7.3 hrs
Posted: July 26
Pretty cool indie game with great music. :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
5.8 hrs
Posted: July 15
The game is short and the music is depressing but it's pretty fun while it lasts
Also your weapon is a broom
That should be reason enough to buy it
Helpful? Yes No Funny
5.6 hrs
Posted: July 10
Neat little oldschool zelda inspired game. Has a sort of surreal earthbound-esque vibe to it which attracted me to it in the first place. Overall pretty quaint experience with one of the most innovative post-game mechanical rewards I've ever seen (the "Tile-swap" tool).

Broom/10 would sweep again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
12.8 hrs
Posted: July 9
This game indeed is a -->
Helpful? Yes No Funny
8.1 hrs
Posted: July 4

Quite a strange game. Provides insight into the mentality of the person who whittles away their youth playing video games rather than engaging with the outside world, to the detriment of personal development or even mental health. It does this only halfway, however, as it effectively backs out of this angle around the end, with the final exchange of the game basically being "okay, let's go get tacos lol".

And, really, aside from this element of the game, it is insanely forgettable. Have you playing Zelda? Okay, it will seamlessly blend into your memories of this game. The name Anodyne, then, is quite interesting, as it means "Serving to alleviate pain" as well as "not likely to offend anyone". The insights provided in the storyline are much what any gamer will have internally going on regardless, but...the gameplay is fairly inoffensive. Irritating with how difficult it is to pull off certain manuevers, but I have difficulty even remembering this game's existence until I see it in my Library. I sunk 8 hours in playing it, so it was worth the investment, but I still would not say one should go in expecting too much. Overall, a recommendation with some reservations.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
7.1 hrs
Posted: July 4
Anodyne is super weird. It has the look of the original Zelda, but instead of a plucky young hero you play an aloof janitor name Young. The game is played from an overhead perspective as you control Young through the various areas of the game. You quickly become armed with a broom, and you better like it because that is the one weapon you will have throughout the game. Unlike Zelda, rather than the player getting powered up, the areas you explore do. The most you can hope for as far as power ups go is learning to jump and minor augmentations to your broom. You must discover the proper route, the sequence of switches, or simply timing your jumps to fully explore each stage and defeat the enemies within them. You'll receive little guidance on where to travel next, or what your objective might be. Along the way, you'll find treasure chests containing cards, and magical gates that open when you are carrying enough cards. The story, if you can call it that, makes very little sense. You get the idea this might just be bizarre dream. Throughout you will find homages to other NES classics subtly hidden throughout the scenery and dialogue.

Is it fun? Yeah, it's fun. One thing I appreciate is rather than requiring twitch reflexes the game often rewards a more methodical approach. Once you find the pattern for an enemy or boss you can easily sidestep their attacks and take them out with little risk of injury, but if you try to rush you will probably take damage, or worse, be forced to retry the room.

A word to parents: the dialogue in Anyodyne includes language you may not consider appropriate for young children.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.1 hrs
Posted: June 26
Need to spend some more time with this one. The gameplay was ok, but the music and the art style are what make it really nice (if you like that). A bit like Zelda but with less combat and more walking.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Suicide Critic
7.7 hrs
Posted: June 25
Good Zelda-lite game. Action is a little klunky, but puzzles and story are good if you liked the adventures of lolo.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 12
This game is weird. Ive beaten and still do not understand anything about it...

It is a rpg, but a confusing one at that..

I recommend just because it is quite fun to play.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
69 of 72 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
It's basically existentialist Zelda on acid with less combat.

This is a weird game. It's got the appearance of a classic zelda game, but there are more areas where you just wander around and talk to random people. You also don't so much unlock sexy new combat abilities and weapons, but just unlock new areas with new traps and puzzles to deal with. There are still boss fights, some of which will give you a challenge, but don't expect the non-stop action of a zelda game. This is much more of an exploration of the mildly dark and mildly bizarre. Not for everyone, but I think many people will find it worthwhile.
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116 of 150 people (77%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2013
Can I give a thumbs-sideways?

The word "anodyne" in a literary sense can mean "soothing" or "blandly agreeable," and I can certainly give the game the bland part.

For the better part of three hours playing the game I did not know if I could stomach finishing it. I'm getting ahead of myself.

It's a Legend of Zelda-like with a ton of strange thematic choices, poor writing, too much dialogue and tonal shifts that will give a player whiplash. What few inventive game mechanics it employs are spread throughout an atrociously long and dull climb to nowhere. You might pass through seven screens just to get to the next place: no enemies, no obstacles to speak of, just a march. As if the designers (credited indie devs Sean Hogan Jonathan Kittaka) couldn't be bothered, having come up with the overall map of an area, to fill it in with things. This becomes very apparent when retracing your steps. You will find a checkpoint at the beginning of an area, putting you on guard for the trials ahead. Then those trials never manifest and seven screens later there's another checkpoint.

To what end? Was my adversary through that place boredom? Will checkpoints at the beginning and end of a stretch really help me combat that adversary?

The few basic enemies you encounter are all laughably simplistic. Many pose no threat at all. Some cannot even harm you. This led me to think perhaps they were more of a rhetorical device than a game object, really. The only rhetorical question that sprang to mind was "why am I still playing this?" Then later I encountered fire-breathing lions and they shot my dandy theory to hell.

But I do know the answer to that rhetorical question, as the game is a little more than a poorly-written, bland, easy Zelda clone.

First, even though the various mechanics are spread out way too far, the few that the game offers are very neat. Even with all the crummy verbosity, the game does not tutorialize, rather giving you the tools and letting you figure things out. A good bit of design. The nugget of a good game. I would never have thought that piles of dust could have so many uses, but there you go.

Second, there is at least one boss in the game that requires a neat bit of fooling and approaches a reasonable challenge. Shame that I can only honestly say that about one of perhaps eight or so bosses, but that one is very good and fun.

Third, there are a few counter-intuitive design choices that I won't spoil that I do admire as choices. It is this last point that keeps my thumb pointing up with all I've said about the game to this point. What I will say is that it's a shame you only get the full, mechanically complete game after playing through the whole thing.

Heck I guess that's a second way it reminds me of Fez. The first was the music and sound effects. Which I didn't mention. Okay.

The music is fine if you're into chiptunes and oscilloscopes. Tones, mostly sine waves. Some triangle. There are several good tones.

Which is more than I can say about the jokes. Those are all tonedeaf. And just grating given everything else that happens. I want to say that, as a rule, you don't get to make crappy puns about bicycles with names in the same game where you murder a man and jump into his corpse-portal to go commit an abortion on a tentacle monster. Which is part of what I mean when I say the game is tonally all over the place. Anything vaguely interesting as a narrative point just gets dropped somewhere; crushed away by screen after screen of nothing happening.

Things I didn't like:
bad jokes
boring, longwinded dialogue
useless screens
lack of difficulty

Things I did like:
inventive mechanics
post-game elements
certain specific challenges
cute enemy names
no navi

Buy it on sale. At the time of this writing it is half-off the ten dollar list price, which still feels like a bit much for what you're getting. Do not pay ten dollars for this game, at any rate.
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39 of 42 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 17, 2015
Anodyne is a top down action-adventure game that draws inspiration from some of the classic Zelda titles. The developers’ fondness for that iconic series is readily apparent, and at its best Anodyne feels like a genuine love letter to the adventure games of yesteryear. It does have a bit of a little brother problem, and its efforts to follow in the footsteps of its idol ultimately fall a bit short of the mark.

At first it seems like the story might be a cute little homage to Zelda, with a little bit of snark thrown in to keep things entertaining. Then things start getting weird. Only little things feel a bit off at first, but before long a general unease begins to permeate the game and you realize that this is not a simple hero saves the world kind of story. I don’t remember any of the older Zelda games featuring paranoid schizophrenics mumbling to themselves in the woods, and I certainly don’t remember finding any houses where the occupant had hung himself. The game vacillates between goofy humor and dark set pieces creating this really unique and interesting atmosphere. Anodyne does a particularly good job at pulling off the creepiness because it cloaks itself with an air of nostalgia.

While the atmosphere is solid and there are some interesting portions, ultimately the story doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. While the first couple of dungeons do seem to at least have some coherent theme and hints at the overall narrative, later portions seem almost entirely unrelated to each other and it feels like the game is being weird simply for the sake of being weird. At times there is an effort to be philosophical, but it is clumsily done and certain segments wind up feeling pretentious. There just isn’t a cohesive narrative, and while bits and pieces are genuinely interesting or unsettling, as a whole the story just ends up feeling disjointed.

Anodyne is about as old school as you can get, and there is a heavy reliance the simple puzzles and exploration that made the old Zelda games so successful. There is a nice big map the look through with a lot of things to find, and the exploration actually gets better after you defeat the final boss because you unlock a new ability that lets you reach corners of the map that were previously inaccessible. While I don’t want to spoil anything, it really is a clever and very unique tool to have at your disposal and it is just a little disappointing that the game waited until it was over to pull out what was really its best trick. I found the post game stuff almost more enjoyable than the actual quest, and Anodyne does a nice job of not only encouraging exploration, but giving you a lot of interesting environments to explore. The levels are well varied and memorable and alternate between standbys like forests and cliffs and bizarre, unsettling environments like a black and white town inhabited by ghosts or a creepy circus with ominous headstones detailing past events.

The actual gameplay is simple but well executed and that the game remains entertaining throughout its entire run. You wield a broom to defend yourself against a variety of enemies, many of which are mostly harmless once you figure out their simple patterns. The boss battles are somewhat of a disappointment and tend to lack any sort of creativity or challenge to make defeating them feel rewarding, with the notable exception of the final boss. As a whole the game is fairly easy, with the only real difficulty coming in the form of some poorly implemented platforming segments.

Each dungeon usually has some new mechanic for you to play around with, including one that is an actual maze and another that uses speed panels to help you jump further. There isn’t as much variety here as you’ll find in a lot of the classic Zelda games, but there is enough that the game prevents itself from becoming too repetitive. Simple puzzles end up blocking your progress in the various dungeons, but unfortunately most of them aren’t any more complicated than getting an enemy to stand on a switch.

While Anodyne is clearly piggybacking on the classic Zelda games, it offers a unique experience and manages to find its own voice, even if that voice occasionally morphs into the high pitched scream of nightmare ghouls. Fans of the old school adventure games should definitely enjoy the combination of exploration and puzzles the game offers and Anodyne is a nice throwback to a type of game that you simply can’t find any more. The game does end up feeling a bit more like Zelda-lite than an actual Zelda title, and the actual gameplay and puzzle design lack the same creativity found in the wonky story and environments. Even with its flaws, this is a very impressive product from what was essentially a two man team and is worth checking out for anyone who still remembers how to find all the dungeons in the original Legend of Zelda.
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31 of 33 people (94%) found this review helpful
9.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 15, 2014
Writing this review such a long time after finishing Anodyne leaves me grasping to describe the game.

Zelda by way of Earthbound seems to be a good summary though. Basic combat, sometimes awkward controls and movement set in a very unusual world that often tries to throw bizarre metaphors and philosophical discussions at your mute protagonist.

At this point though, the few people who have not played the game would be remiss to pass up on the opportunity to play this delightfully unique game, especially with how often it is on sale and features in bundles. There's the enough challenges peppered throughout, accompanied by an effectively simple soundtrack and the dialogue does have a few moments of humour and insight.
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119 of 184 people (65%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
The Legend of Zelda is without any shred of doubt one of the most important and influential games ever made. Nintendo’s landmark release has inspired hundreds of games and mechanics within them, and you can't take two steps without hearing a developer site it as one of their biggest inspirations when developing their own games. Indie game Anodyne is one such example of a very close replication of LoZ's core gameplay, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but unfortunately fails to bring anything new to a very crowded table that results in but another poor attempt to recapture the magic of a classic.

You take control of Young, a man who wakes up in an unknown realm called the Nexus. You are told that you must protect Briar from the darkness, but first must prove your worth by scouring the land for cards. And, that’s pretty much all you need to know. The story unravels in a nonlinear way, leaving much for you to deduce for yourself and numerous questions without straight answers. Unfortunately this initial air of mystery falls apart after you've progressed further into the game and come to realize the developers have no intention of ever answering or even elaborating on the many threads making up its haphazard plot.

You run into a lot of characters during your travels, but none of them have anything relevant or useful to say. One of my biggest issues I had is that the dialog aspires to far more lofty and philosophical heights than it has any hope of reaching, ending up feeling pointless and pretentious, while at the same time completely throwing off the tone of the game. A lot of heavy subjects are brought up, from antisocial paranoia, to self worth and parental neglect, but they are never expanded upon or even discussed beyond a cursory overview (which comes across as forced and in poor taste).

It’s clear this was a very personal experience for the writer behind the dialog, but putting all of your problems and insecurities into your game is a sure fire way to lose your audience. Adding to the disjointed tone is a bundle of worthless profanity that was unneeded and serves absolutely no purpose. I'm not sure why the developer felt the need to include random four letter words, as it doesn’t jell at all with the rest of the game, and even as someone not typically bothered by profanity felt a tad disgusted when presented with it in this context. The ending is the final nail in the coffin, coming completely out of left field and not giving even a remote sense of resolution. I will be the first person to advocate artistic expression, but the story fails on so many levels it had me wishing it hadn’t been included at all.

From a gameplay perspective Anodyne fairs a bit better, but on the whole still fails to do enough with what it attempts. You spend your time split between exploring an overworld, collecting cards and filling out your map, and then dipping into dungeons which comprise some basic puzzles and the occasional boss fight.

It's a formula that works, but in this case quickly becomes repetitive as you neither gain any new abilities, nor encounter consistently interesting puzzles to solve. So much of the game is comprised of nothing but wandering, that many areas feel like nothing but filler, featuring no purpose but to elongate your adventure and keep you away from the handful of smartly designed dungeons that could have made for a much tighter experience on their own.

The extensive backtracking also contributes to much of your time feeling like a grind, occasionally even breaking the game as paths close and you become forced to retread even more ground taking the long way to wherever you were headed. Simply put, it's poor design that frustrates and belittles the player, dragging the experience on longer than it needed to be and making the enjoyable sections a lot farther apart. It's a shame because at times I really felt Anodyne was onto something, but each time my hopes were shot down as I cursed the many aggravating design decisions the developers made.

Truth be told, there were moments when I actually did enjoy my time with the game. The true problem is, to reiterate, the fact that Anodyne does absolutely nothing we haven’t already seen and not well enough to compensate for its lack of innovation. It has it’s moments, but by and large feels all too familiar, and ultimately had me wondering why I was playing it instead of so many other games. I never felt compelled to continue, and I doubt it will be finished by most.

If Anodyne does anything right, it’s the game’s music and art. The graphics wholly envelope the 16-bit era, with a wonderful pixel style that is both beautiful and varied. Each dungeon has it’s own look, from a noir inspired town, to a neon maze it is constantly evolving and giving you something new to look at. It may not all flow together, but it was the one thing that made me want to search out new dungeons.

The other half of the presentation is the music, which does a great job of selling the somber, lonely tone of the story, even when the dialog can’t. From gentle piano melodies, to a pounding jungle beat, it is just a great set of songs, and some I could actually see myself listening to outside the game. They are that good, and easily the best part of the game.

In the end though Anodyne left me wanting. Wanting for better levels, a better story, a better ending, but mostly, a better game. When I first began, I had little idea what to expect and was actually enjoying myself more than I would have expected. But as time went on, the gameplay never evolved, and the story only strayed farther and farther off course making me want to jump ship before it had completely sunk (which by the end it had definitely done.

By the time the credits had rolled, I was all too happy to be able to wash myself of the experience. I don't say that lightly, and hate to have to be so critical, but I simply cannot advise anyone to play what was one of the most disappointing games I've experienced in a long time.
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31 of 37 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 11, 2015
If you like good 2D adventure action games... this fits the bill with higher than average production values.

Enjoyable romp for any and all gamers.
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31 of 37 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 29, 2014
This is a top down action adventure game ala the original Zelda or more specifically the game feels like Zelda: Link's Awakening with the simple color pallet, and music. The screen doesn't scroll. When you get to the edge, you go into a new screen, just like Zelda. Its very simple, with an attack button, movement buttons and a menu button.

It has simple combat with a good variety of enemies, but there are also good puzzles that feel unique to this game. Things like using a broom to collect dust to place that dust to block things. Again, its very simple and easy. There is no hand holding with this game and you are free to figure things out yourself, BUT when new things are introduced they will bluntly tell you yes you can do this. Such as when you attack dust, it tells you, you've collected dust, attack again to place the dust. It will spoon feed you new things as most good games do, but it doesn't force you to do several tutorials. Once to test a new skill and that's it. The game lets you loose. It doesn't feel like you'll get lost, areas are pretty confined and you have a Zelda 1 like map, there are portals that let you quick travel.

Like all Zelda games, there are keys that you'll need. Not just normal keys that open most locked doors, but specific keys to enter new areas. If that wasn't enough, you'll be collecting enemy cards. Enough of these cards will unlock specific gates with numbers on them. Along the way, you'll also find fairies or red insects that will not only fill your health, but also increase your health overall.

The atmosphere of the game is very surreal or creepy, which is awesome, its a different flavor to Zelda that makes it feel unique. You're a janitor in a dark, surreal world. In fact, I think the game is trying to subtly hypnotize you with its music and sound effects like clicking, tick tocking and chimes. Nothing is really explained, it just is and I'm okay with that. I don't need a story, even if there are NPCs every so often to talk with.

One drawback to the game on PC is that the screen is tall and narrow like an old school arcade cabinet. This tall resolution is because Anodyne is also an Android OS game. A fun Android game, but it doesn't help it on PC.

In all, this game feels good and enjoyable. If you're into simple puzzles, action adventure and a SIMPLE old school Zelda that lets you explore a lot; this is for you. If you're into a complex, deep Zelda experience with a rich story, this game isn't for you.
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24 of 28 people (86%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 17, 2014
The weirdest adventure Zelda-esque game I have played in a long time. It is one of these games that, after you finish it, you end up: 1. Completely lost, knowing nothing of the hell happened; 2. Searching forums and webs, looking for interpretations, analysis, reviews, wanting to fully understand all the extremely strange stuff you just played. You can love it or being indifferent to it; for me was a worth experience.
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64 of 101 people (63%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
I wanted to like this game, I really did. While I appreciate what the developers were striving for, I just can't recommend this game to others. On the surface this appears to be a Zelda clone. While that sounds promising, on delving deeper into this title nothing could be further from the truth. While Zelda relies on great combat and clever puzzles, Anodyne relies on unfair combat and ridiculously hard platforming. Enemies don’t stop in their tracks or bounce back when you hit them, so enemies that require numerous hits invariably result in damage to you as they just plow forward through your attacks. In addition, the number of times you die from attempting next to impossible jumps becomes too much to bear. Add in that native controller support simply does not work (in the forums the developers even go so far as to suggest getting a third party program such as xpadder or joy2key to make it work) even though partial controller support is listed on the store page, and I feel you have a product that could have used a lot more polishing before releasing on Steam. For every moment of fun I experienced with this game, I experienced several more of frustration. On a side note, towards the end of the game suddenly the F word appeared several times in dialog, whereas the rest of the game had been devoid of swearing. While I have no problem with swearing in video games, I was playing through this game with my young niece and this sudden unexpected change in tone was not appreciated nor did it seem to fit the game. Overall I would rank this game a 5/10.
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