Gaming

You need to play the most inventive retro indie game ASAP

Nostalgia is a powerful force in gaming, whether it’s in the form of old-school graphics or games stuffed with callbacks to classics.

One game now on consoles turns that nostalgia into its own art form, both celebrating and subverting the tropes it’s based on.

Here’s why you need to play Anodyne 2 (and no, you don’t need to play the also-great original first).

At first, Anodyne 2 looks like a perfect recreation of a PS1 or N64 game.

Beyond its graphics, Anodyne 2’s off-kilter dialogue and floaty physics make it feel more like a lost ‘90s game than a tribute to one.

But if 16-bit is more your style, you’re in luck.

Anodyne 2’s combat and puzzles take place in Link to the Past-style dungeons.

To travel between these two dimensions, the game’s hero, Nova, dives into other characters using a timing-based minigame.

From there, Nova explores a dungeon based on the character's psyche to eradicate the mysterious Nano Dust infection.

Things only get stranger, as you find a series of wild experiments that change the game — either permanently or just for a few minutes.

Anodyne 2’s story is equally unpredictable, full of twists that shake up the already strange status quo.

The funny, whimsical story is shot through with melancholy and earnestness, investing real emotion in an outwardly goofy premise.

Anodyne 2 embraces, transforms and pokes fun at gaming traditions, but never settles for shallow references.

It turns familiar ideas into something altogether new, strange, and above all, worth playing ASAP.

Anodyne 2 is available on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.