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Neo Cab is set in a bleak neo-futuristic world that has you play as Lin, a cab driver who is looking to reunite with her friend Savy. When Savy goes missing, you are tasked with finding her by following the clues that you gather from passengers on your drives.

Gameplay

The best part of the game were the interactions between Lina and her passengers. These interactions are fun and the branching multiple choice responses make the adventure truly engaging. At the end of the game, I found myself wishing that there was a free-roaming mode where you can just keep doing this because Neo Cab is, quite frankly, a very short game.

Your emotional state affects the choices you can make which can then be determined by the Feelgrid, a bracelet that flashes different coloured lights that depend on your emotional state. There are four lights on the bracelet that demonstrates the intensity of your emotions and the Circumflex, a colour map grid that represents a more complex display of your emotional state. This added a certain element to the gameplay that hasn’t really been explored before, but sometimes the choice didn’t correspond well with the shift in result, meaning that the option I chose would give off a completely different result and therefore making my choice seem redundant.

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Story

The main concept of the game is to find your friend Savy but the problem that I had was that I couldn’t care less. Savy came across as that bad influenced, life-sucking friend that was just too much maintenance and it just became tiresome. The mystery of taking down Cabra was intriguing, but rescuing the friend… meh.

However throughout the crux of the gameplay, each character had their own unique personalities that made each car ride feel immersive. The dialogue was very well written and every interaction felt purposeful, even those that didn’t move the main plot along. It all came together to build a world that was believable.

Graphics / Art Direction

Neo Cab has a cell-shaded art style that fits the neo-futuristic setting well. The general theme tends to be dark night shades coupled with bright neon lights and colours that make every scene pop.

The lack of facial animation is often quite unnerving and doesn’t suit the shifts in dialogue. Chance Agency has gone out of their way to make sure that the environments and character designs are detailed, but their faces would often move in smooth motions that just comes across as robotic and lifeless. There were even moments where the dialogue stated that the character winked, but the character didn’t. ‘Where is the emotion?’ I often found myself asking.

There were some odd moments where the game just didn’t feel quite right. During shots of the open road, bushes would pop in out of nowhere with horrendous draw distance. Also when pulling over to pick up a passenger, the environments were still moving in the car’s rear window. This often broke the immersion and made the world feel disingenuous.

Music / Sound Design

Neo Cab’s soundtrack isn’t really a soundtrack, rather just lots of synth tracks that don’t demand too much attention. It gets the job done by laying a smooth groundwork for yourself to focus on the dialogue, but it’s certainly not memorable in the slightest.

The game also doesn’t feature a hint of voice acting which feels like a real missed opportunity. Even some partial voice work would have given us a bit of an idea of the character’s tone however without it, they all came across as lifeless and robotic.

Final Score: 60%

Neo Cab’s concept is good, but the execution makes the entire game feel like it’s still in a pre-alpha state. I enjoyed my time driving passengers around and learning more about them, but the experience was sullied by stiff animations and a lack of voice acting of any kind. At the end of the day, Neo Cab is a shell of what it could have been.

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Posted by Rachelle Suri-Tucker