Watch Out For: A.N.N.E

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Under normal circumstances I would be reluctant to promote a game that is currently in the crowdfunding/kickstarter stage of development, but the indie platformer/RPG title A.N.N.E sets itself apart by having a playable demo at PAX East.  A lot of games on Kickstarter are in the absolute earliest stages of their development process and are fully reliant on pre-purchases to fund the creation of the game.  ANNE apparently already has quite a bit finished and only requires a bit more polish.  The developer Gamesbymo also assuages any fears with a quote on their kickstarter page:

Nothing will stop ANNE from seeing the light of day! However my quest for perfection could force me to spend extra time polishing the game and ensuring that it is an instant classic. There is no point in releasing something that may only disappoint those who supported you from day one!
— A.N.N.E Kickstarter

The bright colors and charm of the artwork are mesmerizing.

ANNE was able to garner quite a bit of excitement from games media with a strong showing strong at PAX, in which the game's bright and colorful visuals, and interesting take on platforming were able to shine.

In ANNE, you (blue robot, aka No. 25) are tasked with saving your girlfriend ANNE (pink robot) from being dismantled on the planet Gomi.  That can be done in a number of different ways, as ANNE is an open world-platformer-RPG, so imagination and puzzle solving are paramount to your survival.  At your disposal is your trusty spaceship known as "The Great Whale" which can be upgraded along with your own skills and weapons with collected energy crystals that operate as both currency and experience points.  

Delicious platforming goodness!

What's interesting about exploration in ANNE is that many areas can be explored on foot or in your ship.  When you enter The Great Whale, the camera zooms out giving you a better view of your surroundings.  Jump out to do some platforming and the camera will zoom in again, giving you a closer look at enemies and platforming dangers before you.  The ship can also be used for physics based puzzles, allowing the player to build things using heavy boulders to access new areas, or using heavy objects themselves as weapons. 

"The Great Whale" in action.

As of right now, ANNE is planned for a PC release in early to Mid 2014, with availability on other platforms dependent on Kickstarter success.  $90,000 will allow for Mac and Linux releases, $130,000 sees an OUYA version, $145,000 for PSN/Vita, and $180,000 will allow for a Wii U release.  I usually don't chip in for games on Kickstarter, but I will make an exception for ANNE.  Not only do I think it's an awesome looking project, but some of the stretch goals add some really great features (and some awesome swag) to the game, like new game+ mode and the ability to play as ANNE instead of No. 25.  Not everyone wants to shell out dough for a game that could be coming out as much as a year later, (I'm usually one of those people) so you can also vote for ANNE on Steam Greenlight to help it eventually come to Steam.

Yet another awesome looking indie project has me excited beyond all measure for what can be accomplished with the creativity of an individual or small group of individuals, something that's been sorely lacking in many of today's big game releases. 

Here's the reveal trailer for ANNE, showing some of the gameplay in action.