2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL
Review Context: Before playing this, the most recent point-and-click games I’ve played were from Telltale Games. While those are more interactive, I haven’t played the original type of the genre. The closest I got was watching a friend recently play Manic Mansion on the NES trying to remember how to get the good ending without the aid of the internet. It was a fun experience seeing how everything on the screen is active, and seeing how using items in multiple ways to solve puzzles looked interesting. I remember seeing games like this on PC DOS as a child, but never played one until recently.
Date of Playthrough: August 12, 2018
Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy
The visuals in 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL are a nice throwback to what it would feel like playing a game on the NES or PC DOS with the character animation for the sprites having a 16-bit look when talking to them is well done. The environments work well, as well as the time of day, with a sunny day being bright, while the evening has a yellowish tone for the sunset vibe. Not once does the retro vibe feel out of place. There were some minor moments where I didn’t know what an object was due to the pixel art, but it wasn’t enough to distract me. The colors look amazing on the Switch in handheld mode, so much that this is one of the few Switch games I prefer playing in handheld mode rather than docked mode. If this was redone with modern graphics it would feel like a Blade Runner clone so I’m happy for the design of the city.
I applaud MidBoss for using the Switch’s control scheme to its advantage with the gameplay. I feel both options work well with this game. You have the action, use, touch, and look icons, while the analog stick and d-pad is for looking around. One option has the commands being mapped to the shoulder buttons, while the other is mapped to the face buttons. The reason why I feel both options are good is how you decide to play.
At first I played with the pro controller and after getting confused with the layout I switched to the option of having it mapped to the shoulder buttons and it worked out great. When I played with the joycons in handheld and tabletop mode I reverted back to the face buttons. With this, I was able to adapt to the control scheme like second nature no matter which controller I used. The only drawback I experienced, which was my fault, is in the menu box I had trouble trying to back out of the sub menu to get back to the game. Another time was when I wanted to manually save, but accidentally loaded an auto save file. It should be noted that the game has no tutorial to teach you the controls, but most gamers should be able to understand the gameplay within a short period.
HD Rumble is the most underrated feature on the console, as I feel this works better than the standard rumble feature on controllers. The responses are great, from subtle moments like a person walking away, to surprise moments when Turning has an alert, to where it feels like the controller is your heart as it beats in fear.
Although the story is short, it’s a ride you’ll want to take multiple times, thanks to the game’s different paths and endings based on your decisions. The story is set in Neo San Francisco, close to Christmas of 2064, where technology has advanced and so has culture. Without giving too much away, it feels like the future I could see happening, since we are already living in it. I like that as you progress or slow down to look around there are thought-provoking questions that are asked and shown to see, despite advancement in technology we (humans) will always hate someone/thing that isn’t you. A good example is when I read the sports section of the news, it explains the local team’s new Quarterback is helping the team, but some fans are not happy with the player being a woman. That’s just the tip, as the side characters you meet up are three dimensional in personality, to where you want to know more about their backstory.
You have a gem of a game when I almost forget to talk about the main story because the world is engaging to the point you don’t want to advance the story. Speaking of which, you start off as a journalist reviewing products so you can pay your rent. After sleeping you wake up to a small robot in your room. After explaining that the (ROM) machine’s name is Turning, you go on a hunt to find out what happened to the creator. What you think is a “who done it” game becoming something more, to where you are hit with heart-pounding decisions to uncover a bigger mystery that could affect the city and the world. Not since the Mass Effect series (including Andromeda) have I become so invested in the story that I have a hard time putting the game down.
While the game is available on most platforms, the Switch version has extra goodies to keep you busy. One of these features is a side mission with a duo you meet up in the game. I’m happy to see this since they are the funniest characters. However, if you don’t want to be spoiled, it’s best to play this mission after you beat the main game. Other goodies include lots of artwork, soundtrack, and all the trailers.
What’s usually lost in these games is the voice acting due to the heavy reading. You can only imagine the character’s voices for so long until you’re taken out of the story. Not only is there voice acting, but a good solid cast with each voice fitting the characters perfectly, especially Turning. The soundtrack in 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL does a great job engulfing you into the game, with each beat matching the mood perfectly for different events. This could be one of the best uses of chiptune music I’ve heard. It is interesting that while the sound effects are 8-bit, the dialogue isn’t. This is for the best having the speeches sound clear instead of what voices usually sound like on a retro console/PC.
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