Available On: PC
Developer: Technocrat Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Genre: Point-Click Adventure
Official Site: https://www.wadjeteyegames.com/games/technobabylon/
Release Date: May 21, 2015
Where To Buy: Steam
A few years ago, Sierra Entertainment announced and released a revitalized King’s Quest, a classic point-click adventure game from the early ages of console gaming. It’s success in the modern day sparked a new interest in point-click adventures, and thus developers began to produce a new wave of classic gaming. Thimbleweed Park was one of these that found some renown and recently made its way to console. Another that came out before this seemed to slip through the cracks when it deserves a second look.
Technobabylon is a point-click adventure from Technocrat and Wadjet Eye Games that attempts to emulate the “games of old”. You play in the European city of Newton set in 2087, a highly advanced society with a liberal view on laws. The city itself is set up under an AI infrastructure called Central. The game lets you control the lives of different people: a CEL agent named Charlie Regis, his partner Max Lao, and a girl with an obsession for the online virtual world named Latha Sesame.
You begin playing as Latha as she tries to break her way out of the apartment complex she is currently stuck in, using a combination of the materials available to her and her access to the online world as a hacker. After you successfully break out, you then assume the role of Regis as he and his partner are trying to solve a mysterious stream of murders by a supposed Mindjacker, an individual who is hijacking the minds and memories of others.
As your investigation progresses, though, Regis finds himself blackmailed, the other party holding his embryonic children for ransom against him unless he complies to their will. This turns him into a sort of rogue agent forced to work in secret to achieve the goals of his blackmailers. As you progress, you find out that the situations and the people you thought you could trust may be working against you, leaving you with many choices of how to handle the impending situations, each influencing future events.
As many point-click adventures follow a linear storyline that develops as you progress, Technobabylon does an interesting job of giving you dialogue options that impact how your future interactions with characters happen. Each time you choose to work with a certain group or save a life rather than take it, it changes the circumstances of later conversations and eventually the end result of the game. It definitely feels like the game is both a mix of the games from the ’80s and the themes of modern day games, and it does it in a way that feels truly natural.
The gameplay itself is actually fairly fluid. As your character is a government agent, it’s your job to deconstruct a scene and use the materials available to investigate fully each encounter. There is an element of this that takes you out of the experience occasionally though, as certain obstacles require a bit of trial and error before finding the correct solution. As much of the background jargon can be fairly technical and revolving around scientific terms, it can be difficult to put together some of the pieces without just guessing each one.
One scene in particular that this difficulty becomes apparent occurs when you are tasked with decoding a message imprinted on the DNA of flowers. The problem is that each of the six components requires you to either understand the various plant genealogy names or go by trial and error for each plant, each limited to three samples per trip, which can take quite a lot of time. In addition, one of the things you must do in this section is injected one of the scientists with medication, of which there are about seven choices to choose from. All of these details mixed together can make this instance a fairly complicated and convoluted situation to figure out.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case overall and most situations can be figured out using basic common sense. The game also gives you an excellent soundtrack that runs in the background, a mix between a futuristic sci-fi track and more classical music like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The atmosphere that Technobabylon achieves is one that transcends all of the potential misunderstandings that may come with the technical language it uses. The mix between real and virtual, new and old, polished and tarnished are done in a way that makes the world seem more realistic than it perhaps should.
Verdict: Technobabylon capitalizes on the success of the new rebirth of point-click adventures, and it does so by mixing in modern and classic themes. It creates an approachable atmosphere by creating characters that are relatable and real, each with their own backgrounds and motivations. While it has its flaws and can be a bit frustrating at times, the overall experience is one that I’d recommend.
- Excellent environment and character building
- Realistic world and personal interactions
- Stellar soundtrack
- Technical jargon can be a bit confusing
- Some sections almost seem to require trial and error