After the release and immediate success of the Nintendo Switch, many large developers and small independent studios wanted to jump on the winner's bandwagon in order to get their own share of the profits. Than the small hybrid console at home Nintendo has been able to conquer young and old for its portable character is now known to all, as well as it is now very clear the predilection that players have towards independent titles that have come to Switch. The total absence of compromises for the "minor" titles that arrive on the console, in fact with ports that faithfully reflect the product already landed on other gaming machines, have allowed the Nintendo-branded creature to enter the hearts of all those from the industry videogames do not expect only AAA, but also works capable of pointing to something else. Among these, figure 2064: Read Only Memories, a peculiar pixel art point and click adventure developed by the guys at Midboss which aims to tell a compelling science fiction story made of intrigue, dangerous megacorporations, populations fighting for their freedom and increasingly refined and intelligent robotic creatures. After having already originally arrived on Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita, the arrival of the work also on Nintendo Switch allowed us to explore it in detail to discover every little detail. If you are curious to know our final judgment on it, all you have to do is keep reading.
Story of a shattered world
The current year is 2064, an era of great technological innovations that have allowed humanity to thrive. Expanding metropolis and diseases eradicated from every vocabulary are the basis of a civilization at its best, an idyllic situation which however represents only a defensive wall to hide the harsh reality of the facts. With the economic collapse of the entire US ecosystem, the nation has plunged into an abyss of pure desperation where only large multinationals have emerged victorious. Huge technology companies have in fact bought the whole country, piece by piece, city after city, governing their shores in the ways they deem most appropriate. The poor have become even poorer, effectively losing even those basic protections that the government could offer, while the rich have done nothing but continue to increase their capital. At the same time, the population is now shaken to the very foundations by the latest technological discoveries which, on the one hand, have allowed many to heal their own maimed or tortured bodies, on the other hand they are considered by large sections of the population as an insult against God. Men and women with animalistic features or more and more similar to a mass of circuits and bolts have begun to populate the streets of every city, changes made to their DNA both out of necessity and out of pure desire to express themselves.
Hence the Human Revolution, a Protestant group now on a war footing against the freaks - this is the name given to people who, willy-nilly, have heavily modified their genetic code - who have been fighting tooth and nail for years to limit and hinder such invasive genetic manipulations. In this dangerous society we will find ourselves playing the role of a freelance journalist who lives his life with tranquility and a pinch of neglect. However, his daily life is upset by the unexpected arrival of Turing, a small robot that from the very first moments will show itself to us for what it really is. Turing is not a normal ROM (Relationship and Organizational Manager), one that can be purchased to no longer have to worry about domestic needs, but represents the first truly thinking robotic creature. He is the fruit of the labors of Hayden Webber, old friend of the protagonist who seems to have been recently kidnapped by some attacker. Our task and that of Turing will therefore be to walk through the darkest and most dangerous alleys of San Francisco to reveal the dark truths that are hidden from the eyes of the population.
Narratively speaking, 2064: Read Only Memories offers a distinctly cyberpunk experience that incorporating elements already seen in print, film and video games, it is presented to the public with a fresh and intriguing result. The adventure continues pleasantly from the beginning to the end credits thanks to well thought out twists that are approaching characters always charismatic and well defined in their respective personalities, with Turing in particular to do the lion's part. In this sense, it is interesting to consider how the Midboss boys have always shown themselves in favor of the LGBT scene, a character that figures with great force even in his latest creation, where gay and transgender couples commonly stand out during the game. At the same time, experience never misses an opportunity to face inner dilemmas that are anything but trivial. How far can individual freedom go? Who should really have the power to decide for third parties? How far should we go in terms of technological advancement? These are just some of the many questions that we will be asking ourselves during a journey that in about ten hours proved necessary to complete it, has been able to conquer us by keeping us perennially on our toes.
The importance of listening
From a purely playful point of view, 2064: Read Only Memories is configured as a point and click experience with a distinctly classic soul in which, from scenario to scenario, it will be our task to interact with the surrounding environment, undertake long dialogues with numerous characters and exploit objects scattered everywhere to advance in the adventure. The title is also characterized by the presence of multiple choice answers capable of giving the experience that extra sense of personality that never hurts, complete with multiple endings potentially capable of increasing the longevity of the whole. Midboss's work does not even fail to present several enigmas capable of pleasantly varying the pace of events., although all turned out to be somewhat simpleton. Overtaking on a specific puzzle badly thought out where we found ourselves having to "go at random" to reach the solution, the title has in fact always proved to be strongly guided, in fact focusing clearly more on the narrative aspect than on the videogame one.
In-game it will practically never happen to get stuck due to some too complex puzzle and indeed, on all those occasions when the adventure requires you to squeeze your brains out, you will find yourself in front of the solution with a sometimes disarming simplicity. In addition to this, the game interface turned out to be rather uncomfortable and cumbersome from the very first moments, a nuisance that fortunately does not heavily penalize the final result. At times it is undoubtedly clear how the team wanted to approach the genre of visual novels, where you will find yourself undertaking long dialogue phases which fortunately, thanks above all to an excellent script and writing, always turn out to be intriguing and interesting to read and listen to, regardless of whether you are talking about small additional notions relating to "lore" or crucial information to understand the narrative plot. In purely technical terms, 2064: Read Only Memories manages to stand out from many other works thanks to a style in pixel art with an 8-bit charm that makes it necessary to have an appropriate artistic direction for scenarios and characters. Not least the audio sector turned out to be, with a qualitatively excellent English dubbing accompanied by a soundtrack whose tracks blend well with what happens on screen. Precisely for this reason, it is therefore a real shame to have to see how the work lacks any localization of the texts in Spanish, an element that could put more than a few players in difficulty.