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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Some Tips for Prospective Anchorites, March 7, 2015
by Matt W (San Diego, CA)

(I know you're now imagining a one-room IF, playing as a walled in anchorite from the 13th century.) Anchorhead is a classic work of IF. You should absolutely play it. It's perhaps the work to study for creating a consistent atmosphere and a heavily detailed world. Every object in the game, whether a background object or one you can carry around, has a description. And every description in the game is in service to its bleak and disturbing setting. The game is enormous in both number of locations and in length of play, but presents a very cohesive geography and well-structured sequence of events.

That said, some of the puzzles in the game are somewhat unfair, and it is (I believe) still possible, even with the updated Special Edition, to choose an action (or fail to complete an action) that makes the game unwinnable; a situation that you don't discover until much later. Correct me if I'm wrong and I'll update the review, but (BIG SPOILERS HERE) (Spoiler - click to show) you can't get back into the church to retrieve the real estate office key if you've failed to get it, and you can't get back to the green door if you've crossed the rope bridge more than once. Other puzzles in the game sort of circumvent some IF conventions that seem to be more common in recent IF offerings, so I thought a list of (spoiler free) tips for prospective players might be helpful, particularly for those of us who are relatively new to the IF scene:

0) SAVE OFTEN USING A NEW SAVE EACH TIME! I generally would have a master save at the beginning of each chapter, then do a new save after each major puzzle solution. (And this still didn't prevent me from having to replay some chapters from the beginning several times.)

1) Take everything you find with you all the time. You must be a kleptomaniac, stealing everything that isn't nailed down. Your trenchcoat is a hold-all with infinite capacity, so there's no reason not to just have everything with you. That innocuous object you found in the first act may well save your skin in the final one.

2) This game has separate results for 'examine' and 'search'. Make a practice of examining every object in every room, including objects that are only mentioned in room descriptions. Then examine any new objects that turn up in the 'examine' descriptions. Then 'search' everything that you might consider searchable.

3) There are places where scenery objects (that is objects that appear only in room descriptions) can be manipulated. This felt to me like making a puzzle by hiding an object in the wallpaper. Read room descriptions carefully and don't be afraid to try using what you find there to create logical solutions to your predicament. The puzzles in Anchorhead are generally logical; they just are often well-hidden.

4) Ask every character you meet about themselves, e.g. "Ask the clown about the clown" This can help get a conversation thread going.

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chairbender, November 30, 2015 - Reply
Why give this 4 stars if, as you say, some of the puzzles are unfair, and you also need this list of instructions you provided in the review in order to have a decent experience? There's plenty of other games that DON'T have those flaws. You don't justify your rating in your review.
BlitzWithGuns, March 7, 2015 - Reply
(Spoiler - click to show)Don't forget about the matches making the Last Day Unwinnable! Your dumb torch will eventually wear out and you need some matches to light up the unlit lantern in your inventory. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any in my playthrough and wasted 3 hours of my life on that game.
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