Technology, is a bane of my existence. It is engrained in every aspect of our lives and it sucks, but it is essential to progress and is rooted firmly in society. I hate it, but I rely so much on it. This game had me thinking like I often do; how would you react when it takes every aspect over of your very life?
Neo Cab, by Chance Agency, is a narrative based adventure, set in a futuristic California, where the company Capra has the monopoly on society. Automation has taken over this world, and you play as Lina, one of very few people who still drive human operated vehicles.
Moving to unite with a long-lost friend Savy, Lina’s life is sent into disarray when the one person she can trust goes missing. With no cash, no lead and in a city that brings back bad memories, she must work hard picking up passengers, earn that cash to survive and collect as much information as she can to rescue her friend.
This is a game that requires little skill to play, but more brain power and a real reflection of feelings, consequences and emotion. To keep ahead in your search, you must pick up passengers and hope they give you a good star rating in your journey, much like an Uber ride, and if you fall below a 4, rating you lose your job, and game over. Each fare requires you to maintain some sort of relationship via multiple pathway conversations, squeezing information out of them whilst trying to preserve their sense of calm and comfort. At times, due to the scripted dialogue it does come across a little soulless, and I would have loved to have heard some speech or emotive sounds, to really pull myself back in. I would have loved to have felt a bit more especially with potential love connections, I’m just mushy like that I suppose.
Being a technologically advanced cyber age, your own character has a ‘Feelgrid’ bracelet letting the player and NPC’s know what your current mood is whether it be a happy green, sad blue, anxious yellow or angry red. This feature was pretty cool, and I found myself always looking at it and monitoring my own decisive actions more.
The challenging element to this tale, is the management of cash flow. Not only do you need to worry about keeping passengers happy but also to make sure you micro-manage the charge in your car, costing valuable money to top up. You also better have money left to bunk somewhere for the night, or you may also sabotage yourself. Couple that with fines and passengers puking in your car and it can at times be a real-life panic when your money dwindles.
The cartoonish game art in Neo Cab, while is simplistic, is cast in a beautiful hue of purple and neon highlights, elevating that cyberpunk experience. The game is littered with very irrelevant cut-scenes of travelling and while it does put you in the vehicle, it is no mind-blowing experience. The synthy-style, futuristic music in the background certainly rounds out the mood of this futuristic setting.
This won’t be the game for everyone, it isn’t a fast-paced action title, but it is captivating. I love games with social commentary, and this is dripping with shadows of greed, industrial takeover and societal suppression. It isn’t just a mystery tale, but an interesting take on uprising and the changes technology can have over a governing body, and while it isn’t the most intellectually challenging game I have played by far, it is certainly ensnaring enough to keep coming back too.
Neo Cab is definitely a game to check out if you are into narrative, plot driven games. The gorgeous purple settings of a futuristic Cali, had me drawn to it like a flame, and the story had me stuck to it like a moth. While at times it is lacking a little bit of soul, this is one mystery I cuddled up to from start to the end. Maybe some tech isn’t all bad after all….
- The emotion indicator a cool little mechanic
- Intriguing plot
- Cool cyberpunk purple hues
- Atmospheric music
- Mild social commentary themes
- Simplistic animations
- Lacks a little soul