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Tropico 4

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Encodya

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 18 - 2021

Pointing and clicking with an orphan and her robot.

 
While the point and click adventure genre may have had its moment in the spotlight, there is still a steady stream of new titles rolling out for fans. Sometimes these titles will try something new, other times they take a more traditional route, hoping to tap into point and click nostalgia. The recently released Encodya from Chaosmonger Studio takes its gameplay style from those traditional games, while having a thoroughly modern look. However, the real stars of this point and click show are the two main characters and their relationship.

 


 
Set in Neo Berlin in 2062, the player is treated to a dystopian future that is as grim as it is familiar. The city, complete with grimy, trash-ridden city streets and neon signs everywhere, is the sort of cyberpunk setting that players will have seen plenty of times before. However, when you throw in a young girl with an oversized head and a large, clunky robot, it does suggest something a little different.

 
The player will take on the role of that young girl, Tina, who happens to be an orphan living on the streets of this future city. She is not alone though and is accompanied and helped by the large robot SAM-53. SAM was assigned to Tina at birth and takes on the role of father and protector. The game begins with a simple set of tasks that Tina and SAM must complete which are all part of everyday life, locating food and comfort and repairing the shelter they call home. However, it doesn’t take long for simple survival to turn into something far more life changing, leading Tina and SAM to come to the attention of Neo Berlin’s corrupt mayor.

 
The story in Encodya really does have a little bit of everything. As it moves along at a reasonable pace, players will find themselves enamoured with Tina and her robot protector, while being disgusted by certain characters and situations, and then laughing at much of the games’ humour. Encodya is very well written and while it may not be the longest game, coming in at five or six hours, it really is a roller-coaster of emotions. Not all of the humour will hit the spot for all players, and sometimes it feels at odds with the grim situations in this dystopian future, but throughout Tina and SAM hold it all together.

 


 
When it comes to gameplay, Encodya is very traditionally put together. The player will control one of the two characters, with the other tagging along as they move around the playable areas. These areas tend to be small and will have exit points that lead to another area after a short loading screen. The player is able to switch between the two characters, Tina and SAM, as they wish as each of them will have their own uses. SAM is much bigger than Tina for example, allowing him to reach higher areas.

 
The puzzles can be a little obscure and players who are not used to the traditional adventure game logic may be left scratching their heads. Basically, the characters will pick up objects as they explore and will largely be required to use these objects in imaginative ways to achieve their goals. The problem is that much of the time the most obvious solution isn’t the solution the game is actually looking for, and would rather the player combine one object with another in the most unlikely way to solve the puzzle. This tends to lead to the player trying to combine pretty much every object they have with every other in the hope that it clicks and then can be used on whatever the current problem is. It’s a tried and tested method that point and click fans will be accustomed to.

 
Outside of exploring and finding objects, the player will be getting into conversations with the various other characters they come across in Neo Berlin. I have to say that the city seems much quieter than I would have expected, but at least the characters that Tina and SAM do come across are happy to chat, for the most part. Sparking a conversation brings up conversation trees that will allow the player to ask the important questions, or just fish for information. The interesting thing is that both Tina and SAM can have different conversations with most people, leading to different questions and more information as the player switches between them.

 
In all, Encodya plays well, in a retro kind of way. It is also very nicely polished, with beautiful visuals and a simple to use UI. The audio work is also quite exemplary, with the soundtrack being a stand out feature of the game. Even the background noises manage to add character to the city, and the voice acting is nothing to complain about.

 


 
Encodya is packed with charm and easy to get invested in for fans of the traditional point and click adventures. Newcomers may struggle with the old-school gameplay, and the combination of grim and cute doesn’t always click, but get past that and there is a new point and click adventure to enjoy. Encodya may not do anything new or revolutionary for the genre, but it is very well made and worth spending time with for point and click fans.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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Cozy Grove Due This Spring

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