LadiesGamers Anodyne 2

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Anodyne 2: Return to Dust
Genre: Adventure, Action, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, PS4 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Analgesic Productions | Ratalaika Games  
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Everyone
Price: US $19.99 | UK £19.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: February 18th, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to Ratalaika Games

The 3D Upgrade

The first Anodyne felt like a love letter to the Game Boy Color. A colourful 8-bit art style with Zelda like gameplay. It was a hidden gem when it came out and I highly recommend checking it out on the eShop if you have a fondness for retro-style games. Anodyne 2 originally released to PC in 2019 and felt like quite the upgrade from the original game, now sporting a mixture of 3D exploration and 2D dungeon crawling. It has finally come to Nintendo Switch and it feels quite at home on the platform.

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
The Game Boy Color vibes are strong with this one

The Cleaner

The islanders of New Theland are being infected by Nano Dust, which is causing their emotions and desires to become warped. Fortunately, Nova (the cleaner) is here to save the day and clean up the islanders from the inside out. And when I say inside, I mean Nano sorta literally shrinks into NPCs bodies which are oddly laid out like 2D Zelda style dungeons and suck out the dust. Is there a dungeon inside my body? Anyway, the story of Anodyne 2 is a bit weird, to put it mildly.

The NPC characters you meet in this world range from Sunflower folk to mad scientists. There are plenty of characters to meet and they have a lot to say. Sometimes it felt like there was a bit too much dialogue that is presented in text boxes. There were times where the NPCs jokes and banter just didn’t click with me so I just skipped through it. I can see some gamers getting quite invested in it but if you’re playing this for the gameplay then Anodyne 2 still has plenty to keep you invested. 

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
Now sure I want to live in a sentient house

The Clash of the Generations

The game blends two graphical styles. 3D areas which feel inspired by the Playstation and N64 era as well as 2D areas which feel once again reminiscent of the Game Boy Color era. It’s a clever blend of two generations of gaming that somehow just works really well together. The 3D has that lovely low poly feel to them whereas the 2D areas make use of brightly coloured retro sprites.

I only came across one niggle in an open area in 3D where some of the textures were just solid black blots on the map. It didn’t totally ruin the immersion but looked kinda weird. Maybe it’s that darn Nano Dust! I loved the main character Nova’s appearance, with her spikey hat and what looks like a duster hanging down the side of her hip. She’s probably the coolest cleaner I’ve ever come across in a video game.

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
This view is great except for the black blots.

Exploring is a Treat

The gameplay essentially has you explore the 3D landscapes looking for NPCs who need a good old clean from the inside out. You then zap them with your nano gun and enter into a sort of rhythm-based game that feels a bit like Dance Revolution only with a controller and not a nifty dance pad. Then you enter a 2D Zelda style dungeon where you move from room to room solving some simple puzzles using your handy vacuum. This can also be used to suck up some enemies and blocks to shoot back at other enemies.

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
Let’s dance it out

When you complete the dungeon you suck up a giant dust structure, get a card and return to the 3D world. Every four cards you collect lets you upgrade the giant Dust Storage pillar which also increases your dust storage capacity. You kinda repeat this process until the game is over. It’s quite a rewarding gameplay loop when you explore the 3D world you get to explore surprisingly large landscapes. You can even transform into a car to get around quicker which is pretty awesome.

I honestly had a lot of fun just taking in all the different landscapes and exploring every nook and cranny. There are some stunning landscapes to behold. Even though the world seemed big, I didn’t get lost or struggle where to find the next needy NPC. Should you struggle though there is an NPC bird looking fella near a car wash (yes you heard that right) who can give you some pointers.

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
Ice to see you

Light on Challenge

The challenge of Anodyne 2 is quite light. You can fail but checkpoints aren’t too far away. In fact, I think the only section you could even die in was the 2D sections, as in the 3D world you are simply exploring with no threats to worry about. It’s a game I felt pretty calm the whole way through. So if you’re stressed and don’t fancy the rage quitting frustrations of some video games. Anodyne 2 might be the chilled experience you’re looking for. It feels like the video game equivalent of listening to a chilled out soundtrack. On that note, the soundtrack for Anodyne 2 is quite brilliant. 

If you haven’t played the first Anodyne it’s not a problem. The sequel is its own standalone story which appears to only make mild references to the first title, particularly in the 2D dungeon crawling segments.

LadiesGamers Anodyne 2
Going through the car wash, yeah!


Anodyne 2: Return to Dust mixes its two art styles in such a way that it culminates in a highly enjoyable gaming experience. Where some developers continue the endless arms race of best graphics possible. Here they return to the olden days and create something quite profound and memorable. Exploring the 3D landscapes was soothing for the soul, knowing when I did get bored of it there was fun Zelda like dungeons to enjoy after. Anodyne 2 reminded me of the old days of gaming in all the right ways. 

Final Verdict: I like it a lot

I like it a lot

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