Anoxemia is an entertaining game. Taking place under the sea, this adventure exploration game puts you in the diving suit of a scientist/botanist/ explorer whose submarine crashes, leaving you stranded at the bottom of the sea with no contact to the topside world. Your only friend is a drone that follows you wherever you go, and it may or may not be trying to sabotage the whole mission. You’re a dedicated scientist/botanist though, so in the midst of all this chaos, you must complete your task. This means collecting plants, keeping your lungs filled up by finding oxygen canisters, avoiding underwater sea mines and drones trying to blow you to smithereens, and of course blowing stuff up with dynamite.
There isn’t much to Anoxemia gameplay wise. It’s an exploration game, so you’re hunting for items while avoiding being killed to advance to the next level. That’s not to say this is a bad thing, however. The levels start off easy enough, easing you into the sometimes erratic control scheme, and teaching you what will murder you and what won't. As you progress, you’ll earn different upgrades, such as a harpoon, enabling you to manipulate aspects of whatever level you’re on and allowing you to advance through the game. As you progress to the second half of the game, things do get a little tricky. Puzzle design becomes a bit harder, keeping an eye on your oxygen becomes mandatory, and you’ll find yourself plotting your next course of action after each death. You’ll have to take note of which bombs are where, spots where a drone might sneak up and laser you in the face, and what loot containers you’ll need to crack open and which aren’t worth your oxygen. You’ll learn that there are different techniques to avoid danger, and you’ll have to go through some trial and error before realizing the true potential of the items available to you. There are no checkpoints either, which initially surprised me, but makes total sense for this type of game, as the levels would be incredibly short, and would probably make the game too easy overall.
Lending itself to the gameplay is the somber music score and the muted color scheme and art design. Anoxemia isn’t a colorful game. There will be no singing red crab tagging along side of you throughout your journey. I commend the developers for this choice. While many games may choose to distract you with vivid colors, Anoxemia nails the dark tone, using shades of a blue and black to lock you into a claustrophobic state of mind. It’s a great decision, and I enjoyed the overall feel of the game.
There are a couple of negatives to touch on, however. As I mentioned earlier, the control scheme can be frustrating. I found myself dying in the later stages of the game not because I made poor decisions, but because the controls weren’t as tight as I felt they should be for certain maneuvers you’ll have to pull off. Beyond the controls, there isn’t much to do throughout Anoxemia. This didn’t bother me particularly, as I’m always happy to play a relaxing game of dodge this and collect that, but I could see some folks becoming bored with its repetitive nature and laying the controller down before the game's final act. That being said, I feel like seeing Anoxemia out to the end is worth it.
Overall, I found myself satisfied with Anoxemia. Sure, it didn’t blow me away, but at its price point, if you like these types of games there’s no reason not to pick this up and give it a go. If you can get passed the controls and the repetitive objectives and allow yourself to become engaged in the superb art design, music, and interesting story aspects, I think many people will be pleased with Anoxemia as well put together little game.
Check it out folks, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 7.5/10
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