There are a lot of games that excel at what they do. Whether it be their puzzle mechanics, characters, stories or combat, some just go above and beyond. Other times, there are those that are derivative and it is easy to see what inspires them. Anuchard falls into the latter category. It takes its inspiration from the Quintet RPGs and a few other classics, but doesn’t really live up to any of them.
The plot centers around the titular village of Anuchard has long since fallen into a state of disrepair. The guardians have long since abandoned the people of Anuchard. Any attempt by common people to enter the nearby dungeons and commune with the guardians has resulted in the villagers being killed and turning to stone. It is up to an unnamed hero only referred to as the bellwielder to reacquire the blessings of the guardians and bring prosperity back to Anuchard. He must also undo the petrification that has befallen the many citizens of Anuchard.
There are two major parts to the gameplay. One part is what the plot revolves around and that is restoring the town. You are tasked with assisting as many people as possible with their needs and trying to return the village to its status quo. Most of the tasks are optional, with the main task being healing the petrified citizens lost in the dungeon.
The other main aspect is the combat within the dungeons. Your main task is exploring the dungeon and fighting past monsters to rescue the different villagers. The combat revolves around attacking enemies with your bell. Some enemies have to be rebounded against walls to have their defenses broken. While it is an interesting mechanic, it does not require a lot of strategy. You also have the ability to create a spire that provides a support ability for you. You have the option to unlock different abilities throughout the game.
Throughout the dungeons, you will also have to activate switches to open up new areas. It gives the dungeons the illusion of being larger than they are. In reality, the dungeons you have to progress through are actually rather linear. Each dungeon ends with a boss to fight and then with each dungeon you finish, you gain access to a new area of the town and new citizens to help and another part of the dungeon to explore. While the game has a lot of potential for sidequests to pursue with the people you rescue and other areas you explore, there is surprisingly little to offer. There is some, but not much, and the overall game is rather short. It can be finished in about 6-8 hours.
Anuchard has an interesting premise with its story and art style, but under-delivers in a lot of areas, especially in its gameplay. It constantly teases the possibility of expanding on its ideas and growing into something bigger and better and just never quite does. It had a lot of potential, but just didn’t quite live up to it.