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Acolyte – Review

I don’t often review games anymore because I don’t have the time to play games for fun, let alone have enough time to properly dedicate to a game review. When Acolyte needed to be checked out for review, I offered to review it since our other PC reviewers were already flat out with other games.

I had no idea what Acolyte was about, and I didn’t even look it up on the interwebs prior to playing it. Normally I would. Suffice to say, I was both surprised and intrigued by what I was presented with once I fired up Acolyte.

I was expecting to be greeted with a full-screen intro followed by the full-screen game. Instead, I had a portrait-shaped window on my desktop, reminiscent of those annoying vertical videos that seem to be becoming more prevalent on social sharing sites. Once loaded, I am greeted with my own Android Assistant or ‘Acolyte’ that I am now tasked with bug-testing as a QA Software Tester in my new job with “Nanomax”.

As I mentioned, I hadn’t done my usual research on the game prior, which may or may not have been a good thing.

Acolyte is a dynamic narrative ARG/detective game that gives you your own Acolyte; a digital assistant you can talk to freely without pre-defined dialogue options. Just like a real conversation.

Become an employee of Nanomax, a well-funded tech start-up looking to change the face of consumer AI with its upcoming Acolyte application. As a remote-worker for the company, you’ll interact with its employees and absorb its culture. But unexplained firings, missing employees, and a strange, highly-classified bug in the Acolyte code-base point to something being very wrong.

As you work with your new Acolyte, who seems to be intrinsically caught up in the company’s problems, you’ll find yourself at the very heart of the conspiracy.Acolyte Steam Store Page

On my first play, I quickly managed to get myself stuck by not knowing what I am meant to do next. Every command or sentence I typed I was met with a response from my Acolyte saying she didn’t understand, and I need to rephrase it. I lost interest almost immediately.

I had to try again obviously, so the following day, I figured I’d give my Acolyte another chance.

Acolyte reminds me a lot of “Hacknet” but manages to go further to try to blur the lines between a game and real life. If you didn’t pick up on it, your role in the game is that of a newly hired QA Software Tester for the company “Nanomax”.

The goal of the game is to figure out what is really going on behind the scenes of Nanomax with the help of your Acolyte. Figure out why staff are getting fired for seemingly no reason or worse, going missing completely. Find out why there is a strange bug that seems to hint at much more with clues that send you deeper and deeper into the world of conspiracy theories and corporate whistleblowers.

Can you figure it out before it is too late?

The purpose of the vertical mobile phone style desktop window that you play the game in is to keep the rest of your desktop free to use the real internet and watch YouTube clips & there is even a reason to open the file manager to be able to progress in the game (this is a hint for new players). It is this that makes Acolyte not only different from anything else I’ve ever played but also refreshing & highly intriguing.

As you play through it, you will discover quickly that not everything is as it seems, and you WILL need to think outside-of-the-box as it were.

There are parts of the game that are harder than maybe they should have been, and ‘Acolyte” I think, will be one of those ‘love it or hate’ type games. But if I can give one piece of advice for new players, that is to give it a chance and not to give up too early. I ended up loving this game for multiple reasons, but it is how well Superstring managed to blur the lines between playing a game, experiencing a game & real life that really won me over.

I look forward to seeing how Acolyte evolves from here, and if I could wish for one thing for Acolyte, it would be the ability to play it on my phone.

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The Good

  • Intriguing Story
  • Refreshingly Different Gameplay Style
  • Gets Those Braincells Going
  • How Do I Know It Isn't Real?? Maybe The Matrix Has Me...

The Bad

  • A Hints System Would Be Helpful At Times
  • Maybe A Little Slow To Get Started

Written by: Kurt Frohloff

A Founder of MKAU, a gamer, a family man. I have a love of all things gaming and a wish of mine is to have more time to actually play the games we review here!


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