“Anna’s Quest” Puts a Sci-Fi Twist on Fairytale Tropes

If you’re looking for a short, traditional adventure game, Anna’s Quest: Winfriede’s Tower is a remarkable addition to the genre. Made entirely by one man, Anna’s Quest is a short story about a girl trapped in a tower by an evil witch. Anna is no Rapunzel, though. For one thing, instead of long golden hair, Anna can move things with her mind. She can’t pronounce the word “telekinesis,” but she can bend spoons, which means the witch will stop at nothing to get her hands on that power.

Anna might be all sweetness and sugar with her pink dress and her black Mary Janes, but she has no intentions of staying in the tower and letting the witch control her. For one thing, her grandfather is very ill and Anna wants to return to him. Also rounding out the cast of characters is a large teddy bear that used to be a boy, an incredibly suspicious ghost named Joringel, and a magic mirror in the basement that speaks only in riddles. Special mention must go out to Holly Stevenson, the voice of the witch, whose old lady tones drip with anger and menace. Her performance is so convincing that interaction with her really did fill me with dread.

Anna herself is a remarkable protagonist. The repetitiveness of her comments can be somewhat annoying, but there’s always a special place in my heart for a heroine who apologizes to her stuffed animals for dismembering them but refuses to flinch when sticking her arm into a drain to scoop out mold. Her pacifist ways–manifested mostly in her refusal to harm any animal in her pursuit of escape–throw up frustrating roadblocks, but they’re also perfectly in character for a young, gentle-hearted girl who holds on to her ideals even in the midst of terrible situations. Anna’s Quest is definitely traditional, but traditional isn’t synonymous with boring or conventional. The game is a solid, pleasing experience, deftly balancing comedy and horror on the rather narrow shoulders of its young protagonist.

Anna’s Quest is no longer available for download online in anticipation of a full spring 2015 release, promising updated HD graphics and the full game.

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