Anyaroth: The Queen's Tyranny review

2023-04-25 by Mike Alexander

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms

    PC, Nintendo Switch

  • Developer
    Yggdraseed Studios

  • Publisher
    Firenut Games

Not your average hero

Wicked, tyrannical royalty, a struggling rebellion fighting for freedom, and an unlikely amnesiac hero who possesses more power than they could possibly understand. You might think you've heard this story before, but perhaps not quite like this.

While it's a fairly common setup for a number of stories, it also forms the basis for Anyaroth: The Queen's Tyranny. This retro 2D pixel-art action platformer takes a tried and tested story concept and gives it a little bit of a twist: instead of following a cast of spunky human rebels, you're thrust into a world completely inhabited by humanoid insects.

Yes. Bug people.

But don't let that freak you out! This little indie title wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and odds are if you like other games of its lineage, you'll also find something to enjoy in Anyaroth despite a few issues. Let's check it out in this review of Anyaroth: The Queen's Tyranny.

Information on the people who brought us Anyaroth is scarce, but I was able to find enough information to properly credit them. This game was developed by Yggdraseed Studios, a small indie outfit located in Madrid, and published by Firenut Games, which is also a brand-new indie publisher. Anyaroth is Ygdraseed's first-ever game, and Firenut Games' second published title, which I think is kind of important to keep in mind as we evaluate the game further.

The first thing worth noting about Anyaroth is its presentation. The game bears the weight of the "pixel art platformer" genre on its shoulders, and I think it's pretty safe to say that it buckles under that weight. I wouldn't say Anyaroth is ugly per se, but I wasn't able to find much throughout the game that actually stood out as visually impressive. There are a few stand-out boss designs, and the environments themselves are serviceable. However, there's not much done in the way of adding visual spice to the rather staid backgrounds and such, and, good lord, the pixels.

I understand that's kind of the point of pixel art, and I'm certainly not an artist myself, but when the game zooms in to focus on characters during dialogue, what you're presented with really just looks like a mess. I'm sure this will have a certain charm for some, but as someone who is just coming off of several dozen hours of Core Keeper and Vampire Survivors, and having recently revisited The Messenger, Anyaroth's approach to 2D pixel art just doesn't hold up to my eyes.

Beating Down Bugs

Thankfully, things are a little bit better for the majority of the game, as the zoomed-out gameplay camera makes the models a little more palatable. The various insectoid denizens of Anyaroth (which is also the name of the planet where the game takes place) are at least colorful visually and in terms of personality. Meeting new characters and finding out how they contribute to the story was always a delight, especially since the writing for the story is decidedly interesting.

As a side note, I did appreciate the Kamen Rider-style helmet and accompanying suit the protagonist character wears. I'm a firm believer that anywhere you can slip in some Tokusatsu goodness makes for a better experience.

As a vague sci-fi 2D action platformer with a protagonist that exists within an ever-evolving and upgrading suit, Anyaroth can obviously be compared to Nintendo's legendary Metroid series. Avestas, the protagonist, runs, jumps, and even shoots mighty similarly to Samus, though in a way offers much more freedom than in the classic Metroid games that serve as Anyaroth's inspiration.

Whereas the iconic female bounty hunter had to make do with eight-way directional aiming back in the day, combat in Anyaroth makes use of what the developers call the "free aim system". In reality, all that really means is that the mouse cursor acts as your targeting reticule, and you can aim in a full 360 degrees around Avestas. This isn't an uncommon control type for a PC game of this genre, but the attempt at branding it is cute. This system effectively makes manual aiming a breeze, although there is an auto-aim system that takes the guesswork out of the process.

For those who might be interested, I also played quite a bit of Anyaroth on my Steam Deck. If you also possess Valve's handheld and are interested in playing Anyaroth on it, I'm happy to report that it boots and runs pretty flawlessly. On Steam Deck, the auto-aim system is enabled by default, which is both good and bad. It kind of trivializes the gameplay since aiming and shooting is literally 60%-70% of it, but it also negates the sometimes fiddly analog stick aiming, which I appreciated.

Going back to the overall experience, the action in Anyaroth ramps up pretty quickly. Within the first hour or so, you're introduced to the world and characters, presented with the stakes of the narrative, and have also already obtained a few helpful upgrades and abilities. It is these things that made me stick through Anyaroth since the combat in the first few areas is a little underwhelming. They weren't just boring, I would go as far as saying they were trivial. Thankfully, the game starts layering on new things like a dash that gives you invincibility frames, new weapons, usable items that include a drone companion and a health booster, and even a melee weapon that can deflect projectiles with proper timing. All within the first hour.

The triviality of the first areas quickly gives way to fairly hectic and chaotic (in a fun way) combat encounters that had me using everything I had at my disposal in a desperate attempt to stay alive, but still usually failing once or twice. The difficulty curve in Anyaroth is a little erratic at times, but it's handled in such a way that you're pulled right back in as soon as things begin to feel like they're a bit too easy. As far as the gameplay goes, Anyaroth is solid.

I mentioned earlier that Anyaroth's story is pretty interesting, and I think it is, although your mileage may vary depending on your personal tastes. From the (unskippable) opening cutscene, the game sets itself up to be the kind of B-movie sci-fi adventure you might enjoy on a Sunday afternoon on any given cable TV station (remember those?). A more accurate, modern comparison would be a mid-to-low-tier sci-fi Netflix series.

In the opening, Avestas is freed from the evil queen's mind control and recruited to the rebellion that has made it their mission to overthrow her. They are released through the use of a virus that is uploaded to their helmet's operating system, and a side effect of a software mishap results in their memories and abilities being completely wiped. The ultimate twist (that I think may have been revealed too early)? Before the beginning of the game and the wiping of their memories, Avestas was one of the queen's elite guards and has the potential for some crazy powerful abilities.

This promise is mostly paid off by the end, but the real heart of Anyaroth's narrative is the characters you meet. There is a handful of really cool and fun characters, though probably my favorite is the effective general of the resistance, Azura. Your first real mission is to join them and help clear an area, and when you finally meet up, they've saved a dog. That then appears at the camp. Which you can pet. It's fantastic.

I won't spoil the rest of Azura's character arc or the twists and turns the story takes, but suffice it to say that I think it's worth playing Anyaroth to the end. Even if you aren't as partial to cheesy sci-fi movies as I am.


I don't think Anyaroth: The Queen's Tyranny is a perfect game. Its presentation isn't the best, the difficulty is uneven, and you can definitely tell it was made by a first-time indie developer. However, the game is fun, fast-paced, and clearly inspired by games that have stood the test of time. It's a slightly rough start, but I think the future for Yggdraseed Studios is bright, especially if they return to this world with a sequel using everything they learned.