I'm not quite sure how I ended up reviewing Anna's Quest, but I'm kinda glad I did. I mean, name another game in which I'd have been able to solve puzzles that involve finding green mould in a sink drain and painting it yellow in order to fool a rat into thinking that it's cheese so it'd drop a key?
Playing like a point & click adventure without a cursor/arrow, Anna's Quest is basically a storybook-like series of puzzles that you need to solve in order for Anna to escape Winfreide, the witch who kidnapped her.
Anna's Quest gets off to a promising start but soon the genre-typical plodding backward and forward starts, along with trying to combine every item in your inventory with every other item, or to use it with every location you can. Don't expect a great deal of logic either, I mean: use your psychic powers to open a drain and release a trapped handkerchief from a protruding hand, then combine a bent spoon with a piece of string to fish it out so you can place it on the bed so you can sleep so a helpful ghost appears? If that and the aforementioned rat puzzle both made perfect sense to you then you'll be right at home in Anna's company.
Apart from the gullible rat, you'll meet characters as weird and diverse as a talking mirror, a baby dragon, a ghost couple, a boy who's been turned into a teddy bear and a talking fox – the cast gets weirder.
The voice acting is top-notch but I guarantee that unless you're 4 years old, Anna's whiny voice will get on your wick after a while. The music is also mind-meltingly repetitive, so I had to turn that right down. You wouldn't think that controls would be an issue with such a simple flick-screen adventure, but you have no cursor so you have to stand near objects to use them or move the left stick in the right direction to highlight whatever you want to interact with, which can be fiddly and isn't very child-friendly.
We also found that the controller button map within the game is wrong, and tells you that you can cycle through usable objects with LB & RB (you can't) while failing to mention that R3 actually highlights all usable on-screen items/locations.
Anna's Quest has a surprisingly long lifespan of 12 or so hours, and it wasn't an unpleasant experience, although I did find myself clicking impatiently through many of the inane conversations the game expects you to endure. We also had several achievements fail to pop, which matters little to me but will annoy the heck out of some players.
I'm sure there's a niche market out there for games such as Anna's Quest, maybe for parents who like to play along with their kids or point-and-click adventure addicts/completists, but I'm not actually sure who the game is aimed at. It's too dialogue-heavy for kids, some of the humour is way too subtle or dark, the plot is too hard to follow and most of the puzzles are way too obscure, there's not enough action for tweenies and over all it's too 'cute' for most adults. Finally, at £17.99 on the Microsoft and Xbox stores, it's frankly too expensive for a port of a 6 year-old PC game.