From The Abyss: Anonymous Notes: Chapter 1 is simply the From The Abyss DS game turned into a DSiWare/3DS eShop title. Short story shorter, it costs $1.99 on the 3DS eShop, so it is cheap enough to justify buying, but if you already have From The Abyss, this is nothing new.
The title is very confusing. Nowhere in the story do you have anonymous notes, and there seem to be no abysses. The story is very basic, as so: You play as Raid, a very clueless adventurer, and you are guided by some lady to enter a gateway into the monster world. In the monster world, you must find portals to get to the next area, and between each portal are many enemies trying to block your path. Your ultimate goal is to defeat every boss in every dungeon. Now, I say dungeon, and that probably brings up imagery of dark, damp corridors with chained skeletons and traps everywhere, but these dungeons are mostly just landscapes, which are not necessarily a bad thing, it really makes no difference to me.
The gameplay is pure grind fare. You don't level up per se, but you find better equipment and spells as you traverse fields and defeat enemies. The equipment isn't evidently stronger or faster until you try it out, and the same can be said about spells. Stats are not shown, but they are there, hidden from the eye.
This game seems a lot like Brave Fencer Musashi from the original Playstation, only 2d instead of 3d and not quite as funny and not as story-driven. In Brave Fencer Musashi, you stabbed enemies with a sword to absorb their powers and health. In From The Abyss and the two "Anonymous Notes" chapters, the enemy absorption power is taken a step further, adding the risk of getting curses and poisons from enemies, as well. I welcome this risk factor, because it adds a sense of difficulty to roaming around the levels.
The grinding is actually just what I expected from this title, so i cannot say I was disappointed. For $2, it was a great buy, and I think it gives plenty of action and entertainment for casual, on-the-go players.