Ann Achronist: Many Happy Returns, from Maybe Later Games, is a brilliant Indie puzzler. You will easily lose hours exploring the game’s many timelines, deciphering the correct string of actions that will progress you along in your Groundhog Day-esque adventure. The art and music are charming, the characters alive and the mechanics ensure the repetitive elements never feel too tedious. Sure the game could be polished here and there, and when something is this good I would never say no to more, but the hours I have invested have been very well spent. This game, from two Warwick graduates, is a must-play not only for students but anybody with a Steam account.
You play as Ann Achronist, or at least many versions of her, on the day she turns 18. Whilst living rough on the streets you attain a ring that lets you travel back to the same one day 300 years in the past. During this day, you can alter the course of history by improving the quality of life for one of your ancestors. By helping your relative gain various apprenticeships and by achieving different outcomes, you are able to change your own life in the future for the better and worse.
In this way, you are able to learn and lose various abilities in order to solve puzzles you previously could not. At first most problems can be solved by one single version of Ann, but later challenges require you to progress down certain routes to gather knowledge in one timeline, to then return in another armed with the necessary abilities to act on your new information.
You are able to change your own life in the future for the better and worse
One such example sees you breaking and entering as the Criminal Ann, unlocking a route into the house for Baker Ann. WIth her burly and well-worn hands you are able to obtain blueprints for a hidden safe that other versions could not. Criminal Ann is able to then return and crack the safe to learn the code so that Librarian Ann can read the documents inside. These and other puzzles are a delight to solve though often the difficulty came not from the puzzles themselves but finding where they start.
Most of my time has been spent trying to work out where I need to go next, and who I should go there as. After a few hours, you will have several Anns with which to adventure and whilst the town is small there is plenty to explore. This will leave many runs feeling pointless and uneventful, armed only with knowledge where the next puzzle is not. Guidance can be requested from characters within the town but their riddlelike advice is not always the most useful.
I loved every minute
However, searching for the next path is made far less tedious by small features like text skip and being able to fast forward time. These small features make the days feel less tedious, minimising the amount of time wasted on each run. Alongside very well made music which always fits the tone and a charming art style, the story and game are elevated.
Overall Ann Achronist is a fantastic title. I loved every minute and was sad to reach the final ending. This charming game is very well made and I look forward to playing what Maybe Later Games puts out next!
Thanks to Maybe Later Games for sending The Boar a copy of Ann Achronist: Many Happy Returns.