E3 2021 Preview – Anuchard
Anuchard from Indonesian indie developer stellarNull is an up and coming 2D action RPG. It has clear inspiration from classic games like Soul Blazer, Terranigma, and Legend of Mana, which you can see right away from its cute retro style. It does however, also have a unique premise that helps to set itself apart from all the other retro RPGs out there. Here is the synopsis of the game:
“Eons ago in a place far above, there was a land called Anuchard, a vast and prosperous island protected by five Ancient Guardians. One day, the Guardians turned their back on the Anuchardians. The utopian civilization shattered and fell from the heavens, leaving only a tiny island and a mysterious Dungeon behind. Here, a distorted abyss of time and space awaits alongside the slumbering Guardians.”
In Anuchard you play as the Bellwielder, a hero chosen after many generations tasked with saving its citizens and rebuilding the fallen civilizations. Our protagonist is called the Bellwielder because of the large Audros Bell he is charged with keeping. He can use it to awaken the Guardians as well as brandish it like a weapon. Anuchard features a somewhat unique knock-back combat system by timing your strikes just right.
The bell will also need to be used to get past obstacles and assist with puzzles along the way. There are few levels of the Dungeon to get through, but only certain parts can be accessed at a time. Each of these Dungeon sections take about about twenty to thirty minutes to get through, instead of an hour like most other adventure RPGs. Rico Lemba of stellarNull, told me that the goal was to ensure that players weren’t feeling bogged down by the experience. They didn’t want people to be turned off by the game if they failed the Dungeon and had to restart a lengthy hour long process again. So in Anuchard, the levels are shorter and sweeter.
Graphically, Anuchard stands out as a bit different than its main sources of inspiration, which I rather enjoy. It has a lot of the same pixelated 2D looks and layout as older RPGs, but with a higher definition on some of the visual effects like magic and fire. It’s a curious blending of two different art styles, but I feel it works well with this type of game.
One of the most interesting aspects of Anuchard is the fact that there is no main villain. There are smaller enemies you’ll have to fight throughout the journey, but no big baddie like a Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda. Instead, Anuchard is more focused on saving citizens, rebuilding civilization, finding hidden lore, and awakening the Ancient Guardians. I’m curious to see if this choice to not have a central villain will hamper the experience or create something completely new and exciting. I suppose I’ll have to wait and find out when Anuchard officially releases next year.
Anuchard will be available early in 2022 for PC.