Grab your rubber gloves and scrub brush: It’s time to rummage through the trash of rich celebrities. Anna Montana puts you in the smock of a teenage girl who is left high and dry when she’s laid off from her summer job. The teen, Anna, appeals to her kind granny for help. Granny sets Anna up for some housekeeping jobs in her well-to-do neighborhood, and hard work ensues.
Anna Montana is part time-management sim and part seek-and-find. The combination appeals to humanity’s inborn affinity towards straightening up (everyone has the instinct, even if it’s buried under that crusty pile of clothes in your bedroom) and leveling-up. The game provides a surprisingly fun burst of activity for a few hours, but it’s over pretty quickly.
Their mess is now your mess.
Anna begins her life of drudgery with an arsenal of cleaning supplies and a client list full of dullards who don’t know how to throw pizza boxes in the trash. Each house has multiple rooms that are encrusted with various kinds of filth, and every mess must be conquered with the right cleaning product. Toilets and tubs have to be sprayed down with cleanser and then scrubbed with a brush; spills and smears must be wiped away with a cloth; shmutz on the rugs must be vacuumed away; dirty clothes have to go into the laundry basket, and scattered belongings have to be put back in their proper place. And it all has to be done within a time limit if Anna wants to see a tip, or if she wants to keep her job, period.
Anna Montana’s cleaning supplies are manipulated with the touch screen. Selecting the cleanser bottle and tapping on a stain will spray it down, making it primed for a wipe-up. Moving your finger back and forth on the screen while you have the scrub brush or cloth selected will scrub away the lingering mess.
But all work and no play makes Anna a poor gal. If Richie Rich is a bit skimpy with his tip, you can break out your cloth bag and fill it with sparkly valuables. Just don’t get caught. Money is the key to getting ahead in Anna Montana; Anna’s wages (and ‘wages’) pay for equipment upgrades, which equal a faster, better job, and a better payout.
Gotta go to work, work all day.
Anna Montana is engaging, though occasionally frustrating. One splotch is difficult to differentiate from another, so it’s never entirely clear if you need to break out the cleanser, the scrub brush, or the cloth. Putting customers’ belongings back in their intended place can be rough, too. Objects turn a different color when you drag them back to their shelves and tables, indicating where they’re supposed to be dropped. However, if your whole finger is covering the object, you can’t exactly see the color-shift. Moreover, the game is pretty unforgiving about which object goes on what shelf. Putting one book away can take a few tries, which eats up precious seconds.
Anna Montana is also a pretty short game, with only seven houses to clean up. Upgrades are supposedly coming, with new levels, new clients, and new challenges. The dialogue between Anna and her customers needs a bit of fine-tuning as well; everybody speaks in formal but halted sentences. Anna Montana is worth a run-through for the price, but it might be smart to hold off and see if Humble Gaming delivers on the promised new content.