Anodyne 2 Review: Return to Dust

Version tested: Nintendo Switch

Eight years after the first title developed by Melos Han-Tani and Marina Kittaka of Analgesic Productions, here is Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, title named Game of the Year! in 2019 by Kotaku, GiantBomb and Fanbyte.

Again, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, admiring the short trailer it is possible to see a decidedly retro graphic style, not very far from the PS1 style and an apparently confusing gameplay, between 2D old-school and some racing sections. This is precisely the beauty of the second chapter of Anodyne, in its small way it manages to shine with its own light thanks to some noteworthy mechanics.


Anodyne 2: Return to Dust will take us to play the role of Nova, a Nano Cleaner who will have to explore the length and breadth of the island of New Theland, once full of life and beauty. This heavenly place, however, has fallen victim to Nano Dust, a horrible infection that distorts the emotions and desires of the inhabitants.

The young creature will have to resort to her incredible abilities to free these places and the inhabitants from the terrible Nano Dust. Will our heroine be able to destroy this evil substance or will she surrender to its dark power? We leave the answer to you, and we are sure you will not be disappointed.

This title is in fact a sequel to the video game launched in 2013, but as mentioned by Marina Kittaka, the two episodes turn into different worlds and with new characters. Therefore, there is no order to follow.

Gameplay, a tribute to the old school

From the very first minutes of the game, you cannot fail to grasp the references to some video games that have made the history of the industry, from The Legend of Zelda to Psychonauts. The adventure that Nova will face is able to combine three-dimensional worlds with two-dimensional dungeons. In fact, our protagonist is endowed with a very particular power, that of modifying its dimensions until it reaches the infinitely small, like Ant-Man to understand us.

Thanks to this power, he can enter the psyche of any character and face the demons he hides. When we face these sessions, the game world will be proposed to players along the lines of the old dungeons of "Zeldian" memory, inside them you will find chests, keys and checkpoints. All this enriched by an interesting series of boss-fights.

In some cases, during the long wandering inside the psyche of the victims of the "Evil Dust" you will rediscover environments not far from the dystopian worlds of Dark Souls 2. In short, Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a true gaming encyclopedia.

Obviously, the game environment is not limited exclusively to two-dimensional worlds, on the contrary, it leads us to explore bizarre 3D environments, which present themselves to us with low-resolution characters and graphics that refer to the first PlayStation. In addition, to move from one place to another, the development team has decided to offer us the possibility of moving through a motor vehicle, another strange power that our protagonist is equipped with.

We are sure that those of you who have some spring on your shoulders will appreciate this mix of genres, despite the excessive distance from the current videogame concept, which mixes hard and pure computing power with the quality of the title.

Unfortunately, some users may not enjoy this past symphony due to localization.


Like the great masterpieces of the past, Anodyne 2: Return to Dust also uses a high quality soundtrack, entirely conceived by the Asian composer Melos Han-Tani. The care of this sector is such as to mix incredibly with the worlds we will face.

This dynamic is repeated throughout the gaming experience, offering unparalleled immersion. In fact, by closing your eyes and listening carefully, you will live a unique experience. Different speech applies to the voices of the characters, but given the amount of work done by two individuals we can turn a blind eye.

Final Comment

In conclusion, Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a title that must be tried to be understood. In fact, once you are catapulted into the shoes of the little Nova and inside the particular island of New Theland, you will discover the pleasure of video games, retracing most of the history of the industry. Surely the title will not reach the general public, but we are sure that those who decide to dedicate their time (the title lasts about 8 hours) will be satisfied. During the session you will also have to remember that it is a title developed by only two people, so every now and then you will have to turn a blind eye and ask yourself just one question: "Did I have fun?", The answer is "Definitely yes".

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