Anamorphosis [official site] is a puzzle game that “toys with the perspective phenomenon known as anamorphosis”. From hereon, I’ll use that word another two times which means I’ll have used it four times in total throughout the article – no instance of which I’ve spelled it correctly on first attempt. As I write this now, the red squiggly spelling error line sits underneath each one still, yet I’m sure they’re okay. In short, Anamorphosis is a puzzle game based around optical illusions. After this, I’ll also try to best explain how this works. It’s weird, but it’s cool. First, have a look at the trailer below.
Right, let’s have a bash at explaining that opening section, shall we? “The distorted images can be anywhere,” says the trailer. “On the floor, the wall, or multiple surfaces. The distorted images can also be [obstructed] images.” Basically, this speaks to images where optical illusions mess with perspective and depth; whereby complete images can only be viewed from the exact correct angle. If I’m not explaining this very well, think Channel 4’s pre/post advert idents and you’re on the right track. The trailer then talks of how this translates to the game, and that four colours will help mark out puzzles: blue indicates a hint that tells players to pay attention to this location; red indicates objects that can kill you; green indicates reality – whereby objects can be switched around; and yellow marks each puzzle’s exit.
Right, I’m starting to confuse myself now, but, while it’s a difficult premise to explain in writing, the trailer starts to make more sense from 2.20 onward where the idea of altering your surroundings by virtue of magic camera is introduced. The scope for the game to then present its puzzles seems far more intriguing as you’re asked to manipulate reality and optical illusions in tandem. Granted, it looks a bit clumsy at times, but it looks fun nevertheless.
Speaking to IndieGames.com, designer Lucien Chen said that Anamorphosis was inspired by an art exhibition in his native Taiwan. “There was a 3D painting in one session which caught my eye immediately,” said Chen. “I was thinking it would be cool if that image could be real in life, even becoming a game.”
The Anamorphosis prototype can be downloaded now on the game’s website.