Most indie point-and-click adventure games do not utilize voice-overs for a number of reasons. A huge one may be that developers do not have a grand budget to cover the cost of many hours of voice acting. Another huge one is that developers want players to focus on the stories, and allow them to go their own paces on the narrative and/or create their own personalities for the characters. Technocrat Games, however, was able to get voice-overs for its own game, Technobabylon. Also, with a partnership with Wadjet Eye Games, the developer of well-known point-and-click adventure games like The Shivah and the Blackwell series, a lot of expectations come across this cyberpunk-themed game.
In Technobabylon, the year is 2087, and the world has advanced technology so much that tasks like cooking food, cleaning the carpet, and choosing the best wine are done by robots. Humans are now genetically engineered to be able to access the cyber world in their heads. Crime has also taken up a notch; a serial “mindjacker” is on the loose, hacking and stealing information from people’s brains and killing them simultaneously.
Two CEL (the equivalent of the modern Central Information Agency) agents have been assigned to investigate the killings and hunt down the killer. The story follows one agent, Charlie Regis, as he searches for answers and ultimately gets embroiled in the case by his past. His coerced involvement in the case to go against the law creates a rift between him and his partner, Max Lao. The story also follows a seemingly innocent kid, Latha Sesame, who is addicted to the cyber world and may be the serial mindjacker’s next victim. As the story progresses, the two stories intertwine, where Latha is caught between the crossfire of Charlie and Max.
Technobabylon is a typical point-and-click adventure game. However, one distinct factor of the game is the multiple ways to progress the story. Case in point, a certain locked escape door in the second chapter of the game can be opened the easy way (asking Max to use her stun gun to short circuit the access panel) or the hard way (investigating emails, calling the right person, and obtaining the access code by saying the right conversation topics). The numerous options provide a good replay value and an unofficial difficulty option, but frankly, all of the options lead to the same ending.
The game also ups the difficulty by leaving hints discreetly via narratives. Getting stuck in the story progression can be quite common, and it is conversations with non-playable characters and observations with certain objects that will give either Max or Latha a realization of what to do. However, hints may not prove useful when certain objects’ colors blend in so well with the background (e.g., the coat hanger stuck in the “floordrobe”).
Speaking of background, the graphics of the game really capture a world changed by technology in 2D. The certain shades of blue and black really depict the atmosphere of a dark drama set in the future. The only concerning aspect of the graphics is stated above; interactive objects sometimes mesh so well with the background that they are hard to discern even with textual indicators that they are interactive.
For an indie game, Technobabylon really shines with its voice acting. It is not monotonous, and in fact, the intonations really show what the characters are feeling at the moment: sad, happy, despair, frivolity, etc. Certain conversations and interactions bring up a dialogue screen with a character’s facial close-up, and it emotes feelings along really well with the voice acting. The only disappointment is that during the times when a close-up is not available, the 2D graphics do not do the great voice acting justice.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
Technobabylon is a great addition to the great arsenal of point-and-click adventure games that made Wadjet Eye Games successful. Its great storyline set in a cyberpunk world, multiple ways to progress, and awesome voice acting will certainly amuse fans of these games. It is out now for exclusively for the PC and can be purchased via its official site, Steam, and GOG.
To find out more about Technobabylon, visits its official page.
Catch the Serial Mindjacker
Plot - 9/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Design - 8/10
+Interesting dark drama set in a future cyberpunk world
+Multiple options to progress a game
+Voice acting emotes feelings well
-Graphics may hinder of finding interactive objects
-2D graphics may not do the great voice acting justice