An anachronism is something that belongs to another time than the one in which it finds itself, which certainly explains the name of the eponymous star of indie developer Maybe Later Games' Ann Achronist: Many Happy Returns, a retro RPG-styled time-looping adventure available now on PC.
Eighteen-year-old Ann is homeless and seriously down on her luck. That all changes when she discovers a magic ring that allows her to travel back in time to a particular summer day in Regency era England. She now has the ability to "improve the fates of her ancestors" and hopefully her own by "unlocking alternate futures" in the process of rewriting history, "each one moving her ever closer to the life she's always dreamed of." There's just one catch: the magic only lasts for one day, though she can return to the beginning of the time loop as often as she wants to try again with a different approach.
Presented in a retro RPG style with overhead perspective, Ann Achronist is described as a "dramatic, lively narrative adventure overflowing with personality and humour," with a variety of word-based "puzzling minigames and unique brainteasers" to solve along the way. The time-looping story sees players revisiting the same 24-hour period in which to "meddle with history by intercepting the day's usual events." Experimenting is encouraged, as you can always reset to try again with the benefit of new knowledge gained.
As you progress, you'll find that "each new timeline comes with a unique ability, such as picking locks or learning to blackmail, that changes the way you interact with the world." You are free to "play as whichever Ann is best for the situation at hand, swapping timelines as required," which will allow you to "find previously inaccessible hidden areas, manipulate townsfolk, and unlock even better endings for Ann." The "butterfly effect" of your machinations can lead to nine different outcomes, "each showing a different version of Ann’s new life."
Originally released with little fanfare back in September, Ann Achronist: Many Happy Returns has since had its initial bugs addressed and received a "fresh lick of paint" for its launch on Steam for Windows and Mac.