With Cyberpunk delayed till later in 2020, how, oh how was I going to get my futuristic fix? Now, while ‘7th Sector’ by Носков Сергей isn’t the RPG I am frothing to get my hands on, this side scroller puzzler, now available on console from Steam, will certainly slay that thirst.
Set in a cyberpunk, technological world, the city of Novograd is teaming with cybernetic robots, drones and artificial intelligence. Starting your life as a single, lone spark, you must traverse a plethora of unique and exhilarating puzzles as you journey through each area of this mysteriously dark and wonderful environment. Cruising along fluorescent skylines, dingy
docks and even barren wastelands, each riddle you face is a gateway to humanity.
While, the elusiveness of the actual story is definitely my jam, the translation of what is going on can be a bit lost, you sort of need to piece it together loosely yourself. I normally don’t mind this but in this title I really wanted to know what was going on throughout. Perhaps, it is a metaphor for evolution or the uprising of sentient technology, who knows, but I certainly was very attached to this character throughout, even my strong empathy dying inside when my little electrical jolt of energy perished. Boasting 4 alternative endings, it slowly becomes more obvious through another playthrough.
Our little spark of electricity slowly upgrades into various forms of robots each with their own quirks and abilities but each one essentially moves with the analogue sticks, dashes and hacks computer terminals to activate switches, complete puzzles or charge meters. Some elements are unique to your form, such as the spark being able to jump or beam its way across broken energy lines or the rolley polley drone with it’s magnetic push/pull ability. It is very reminiscent in likeness to indie darlings ‘Inside’ or ‘Limbo’, a feeling I couldn’t shake and I couldn’t be happier.
The controls are simple enough to master and the puzzles challenging enough to be very entertaining but not mind numbingly hard. Each more rewarding to solve than the last. My only issue was the controlling of a drivable car; it literally handled like a shopping cart with no way to invert the steering, leaving a need to have customisation in the settings. A mild annoyance, but it was only a very short section of the game and was easily forgotten as I progressed.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous; all dark, mysterious and oozing with atmosphere in all the right places. With amazing environmental features, there is always something interesting moving or to look at in the background while the foreground is the puzzle to tackle. The neon colours of targets, buttons and even your own character are a stark contrast to this shadowy world and the secrets it holds. It really is captivating to look at.
The music is also very complementary to the themes of this game, with it amping up during suspenseful moments and mellowing out during the more whimsical scenes. Atmospherically, it draws you in with the humming of robots, the zip of lasers through the air and even the chugging of the train down the line in one level.
Overall, 7th Sector is a wonderful title full of challenging puzzles and sprinkled with dynamic gameplay. With mesmerising graphics that draw you into the mystery that is unfolding, this is one game that had me from start to finish.
- Mysterious and intriguing story
- Challenging but rewarding puzzles
- Beautiful environment design
- Atmospheric sounds and music
- Simple but unique controls
- Exciting gameplay
- Diverse characters
- No inverted steering - lack of custom settings