Last month’s Cyberpunk Game Jam has yielded enough interesting, colorful, diverse games to make Molly Millions do that gross thing where she cries through her mouth. With ten days to work, many devs came out the other side with impressively realized games.
A few suggestions: first, prolific jammer/musician Rezoner’s Limbs, which has a pretty specific logline: “cyberpunk Papers, Please.”
Unlike Lucas Pope’s ethics-erosion simulator, though, Limbs (pictured above) is all about aesthetic pleasure: the star-dotted navy-blue sky outside your cluttered workbench, the slight stickiness—just a little resistance—of synthetic skin as you pull it away from its transistor-and-chip innards, and, of course, the endlessly looping synth-churn of the music.
Things get tricky as clients request more than a simple warranty check: diving into the manual to build a hand for a hacker or welder, you start feeling that time limit bear down on your neck. There’s no miserable family awaiting you at home while you toil away, so feel free to make up your own backstory.
Second, there’s DANGEMU’s VA-11 HALL-A (free build available, $5 to buy into the upcoming full version), offering self-styled “cyberpunk bartender action” with detailed art and an LP’s worth of bass-heavy future bangers.
It’s simple: make what your customer orders. The recipes get more complex—hope you remember all about exponents—but the interactive bits are really an incentive to get to the dialogue. Writer Ironic Lark has put in some work here; each character speaks with distinct personality.
The first customer is a cyborg sex worker, who squeezes several free drinks out of you while debating the metaphysics of food consumption. After she hits the road, in walks a hitman with a taste for Bronson Extract…
The better your synthetic-rotgut cocktails land with the guests, the easier they’ll spill their tales of neon-noir woe.
Lastly, Nik Sudan’s Protocol puts you in the boots of a bike punk, the type you’d usually see under Judge Dredd’s heel. Here, you have a chance to even the odds and put as many lawbots in the ground as you can.
As the enemy waves spawn faster and thicker, the road alights with colored lasers, raking across the screen, each accompanied by 808-style thuds and blips. Your unnamed biker gets a few new abilities to keep the fuzz off her tail, but it comes down to your reflexes in the end: clear the road, let your health come back up, and then dive in for more.
Many of the entries are hanging on recognizable skeletons—endless runners, one-button adventure games, FPS-es, top-down shooters—but for a game jam stuffed with androids and augmentations, maybe that’s appropriate.