Saturday, 31 December 2011

Arco Warriors [Review: Cyberlords Arcology]

Cyberlords is a sci-fi RPG playable on mobile devices. Jesse, an inhabitant of the Asgard Arcology megacity, wakes up in a clinic owned by the sinister McCoy corporation. Is Doctor Who in charge of this dystopic future? Or perhaps it’s the crisps. For a moment I thought Jesse might even have lost his memory but thankfully the cliché police did not have to be called, and soon Jesse is receiving cryptic messages, from an artificial intelligence, that might help him to escape and contact the resistance. He can then tool up, recruit some thugs and hackers, and carry out a series of missions to uncover the secrets of the Arcology and the McCoy corporation’s sinister plans for its population.

I’m loving this game with it’s eight-bit style 2D graphics, simple colours and copious blood and guts, all reminiscent of the ancient classic Syndicate. As far as the RPG side goes, the playing area is large and divided into many zones and levels. You assemble a group of four player-characters, each with a little bit of personality and backstory. Sadly there’s no choice about who you recruit. There’s also a Deus Ex style system of cyber-upgrades - find the blueprint, bring it to the Resistance doctor for implantation, then trade your experience points for further upgrades. Implants might improve your stamina, speed or accuracy, or give you the ability to regenerate or hack into robot guards, but some are a bit too far fetched - one even allows a character to use both hands simultaneously!

There are story and side missions most of which are combat heavy, and some of which will send you across the playing area and back again. It helps that the control system is reasonably good with one-touch or two-touch routes to almost everything you want to do, although it’s slightly awkward if your four characters are too close together. Minor issues aside, Cyberlords is a stylish and satisfying RPG and another proof that complex gaming experiences can be provided on a mobile.

No comments: