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Nightmare Fuel / Anodyne

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"The overall tone is one of unease, with a subtle malevolence – the ‘something seems a bit off here’ factor."
PC Gamer, Anodyne review

  • The very first area that you visit (after receiving your quest): a section of some abandoned highway. It looks pretty regular, until you're passing under a bridge. It suddenly gets very dark, and after a few steps a ghostly humanoid figure appears, stalking you, then disappearing when it get close. Worst of all, the BGM just stops, and doesn't resume until you leave the highway area completely. If for some reason you return to that place, the ghost won't appear, but the music will still stop.
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  • "Woods", the music in the zone that houses the Temple of the Seeing One, the first dungeon. It's this really unnerving ambient noise that rises and falls. It's especially creepy if you're playing with headphones on, as the music strobes between both headphones is really bizarre ways.
  • Young Town. It's one of the most overtly frightening areas of the game. The area looks like an average American suburb, which is a huge change from everything else you've seen in the game. The visual style of the game suddenly changes, and it looks like you're playing the game through a staticky television. Not only that but your first instinct is to talk to the NPCs right by the entrance only to find that your broom has been replaced with a knife. When you try to talk to them, you'll inadvertently stab them and kill them. They'll fall down as a pool of blood forms underneath them. If you try talking to their corpse, their last words are them expressing regret on things they just missed out on in life thanks to you. There are also shadow people that lurk in the town. These guys are completely invincible and do an insane amount of damage, and will usually one or two shot Young, whereas Young can take 6+ hits from anything else before obtaining any health upgrades.
    • There is a certain house that a man lets you go inside. Unlike the other houses in Young Town, this house contains the shadow people as well as dead bodies, described as being beat to death with blunt objects. Like a lot of things in the game, this isn't explained.
    • Additionally, the knife's only function is to kill innocent NPCs. Why would Young have such a thing?
  • The circus dungeon. The entire place is littered with diary entries depicting gruesome accidents and death. You have to save two carnival performers from their deaths, but instead of thanking you they run away. Later on, the diary entries imply that The Seeing One, the boss from the first dungeon, has promised to "take away their pain". The carnival performers were trying to commit suicide and they are angry that you stopped them from receiving salvation. After the boss fight with them, they are happy you brought their salvation back, then fall down a cliff and die. When you climb the ladder to go to the basement, you can see their bloody bodies in a sealed off room.
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  • The 8-Bit Dungeon. The only enemy is a very hard-hitting skeletal... thing, and the lower graphic quality just makes it worse. It's an annoying maze with dead bodies stuck in the wall and in sealed off rooms. The only nice thing in it is an adventurer who contemplates how all the people died. And, again, there is no explanation for any of it, as usual.
  • The Archive. It uses the same Art Shift as Young Town. To get to it, you need to walk around the whole game talking to various NPCs who will lead you to more NPCs. Eventually, finally, you'll find a clue as to where The Archive is. The Archive itself is just piles of what appears to be different forms of Young, all unmoving, for several hallways. It also has two teleports to a beach and a weird room. And... that's it.
  • The Red Sea. For starters, there's the way you get into it: There's a fisherman sitting in front of a whirlpool. Trying to talk to him only makes you attack him with your broom, and once you've attacked him twice, he falls into the whirlpool, staining it with blood. Jumping down after him takes you to a strange red-tinted area that doesn't look like it's underwater at all, full of bizarre creatures that look like walking trees. Once you enter the dungeon, you're treated to "Grotto", an eerie, droning track, and the place is full of rocks inscribed with things like "WE ARE BORN INTO THE DECAY OF OUR MOTHER'S BODY." At the end waits Rogue, a deformed red... thing that opens its boss fight with a speech about how it intends to break the cycle of suffering by not going outside. And as is par for the course in Anodyne, it's never explained what's going on, what any of these creatures are, or what or where the Red Sea actually is.

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