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About the StoryWhen suspects and witnesses are “property, not people,” how should those who seek the truth proceed? Date robots. Avert scandal. Bring protection.
Contains descriptive adult content, language, sexuality, and humor, mild violence, recreational alcohol and drug use, and "sexy" but non-explicit character portraits. A "less-explicit" mode will tone down, but not completely remove, some (textual) adult content.
Verb Your Enthusiasm (audio)
"We played this game like demons..."
"I think we both probably recommend it?" "I would recommend it absolutely." "I spent ages with Ivan. Ivan's my boyfriend!" "I would like to spend more time in this world, I think." "I was sufficiently convinced by the sort of whimsical horror of it..." "Ivan is the absolute NPC of the year for me at this point." "So what the robots represent, I guess, is kind of like the cynical, capitalist exploitation of sexuality..." "Oh, I definitely resent what they represent. Clearly products of a steeply sick society...but just on a superficial level, I quite liked interacting with them..."
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Ballad of Vaughn Kaminsky
I proceeded to spend much of the time instead dicking around and hanging with my friend(?) at his place, ripping his bong and playing pseudo-Mortal Kombat (and fucking losing. I spent a lot of time trying to see if I could beat him. Is it even possible to win??). And those scenes were amusing, but maybe not conducive to getting a good ending.
(Okay, no, wait, that’s hilarious, I’m realizing that I in-game squandered my time as an investigator by getting high and playing Mortal Kombat like every day.)
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...gripping enough to hold my attention, and then some.
[A] successful pastiche of a surprising variety of genres: a visual novel-esque dating sim, a dystopian prison/workplace simulator, and a dialogue-based murder mystery. It ties these experiences together into a hilarious package with tightly written prose, a fast pace, and nary a dull moment.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Does it bother you if people think you're someone who enjoys robot sex parties? What about the robots themselves — are you trying to maintain their respect? Is it a problem if your personal assistant software thinks that you're down with the lifestyle? Would you even be playing a game like this if it wasn't an IFcomp entry?
(Spoiler - click to show)For example, I was in a bind after Em reminded me that spending time with these robots was a potential violation of Cardinal's terms and conditions. I had no choice — I was forced to start a party and then call Em in to witness it.
This game worked on mutiple levels. Players who get hung up on the existence of the sex robots might miss the game's commentary on relationships and control as they play out between corporations and people, between law enforcement and private citizens, and between people and their possessions.
It accepts and encourages broad range of viewpoints, allowing you to pursue multiple courses of action while subtly reminding you that other people might view those actions from different perspectives. (Do you want to wear a bathrobe everywhere, like some delusional freak who pretends he's enjoying the decadence of ancient Rome, or do you just do it because you enjoy looking like an extra from Logan's Run?)
I made it to the end of the game, but I would not call it a happy ending. I'll have to probe a little deeper. You know, purely for research purposes.
But this is perhaps the least tame 'tame' setting I've seen. The author is just bursting at the chance for you to sample some of his erotic writings.
Case in point: the whole point of the game is to interview four sex robots and ask them a series of 7 questions to help determine the cause of a murder. But the robots get bored, and you have to do other things to get them to respond. Eventually the only options, even in the clean mode, are sexual. The pictures correspond to the hardcore version, no matter what you pick. Your character still has erotic encounters with bots at the factory.
Well, in any case, this sort of thing in a game comes along with a feeling of shame, which is not what I'm looking for in a game.
Okay, that out of the way, this has some interesting things going on with it. Like Howling Dogs, it has a day/night cycle in a grey cube in a futuristic setting. There's really a sandbox feeling, as you can choose to go to work or not, spend money on things you like, configure your room with different virtual reality setting, sleep in the mimddle of the day, etc.
It can all get overwhelming. I reached a first ending on accident, and my next one implied I had missed a huge portion of the game ((Spoiler - click to show)involving accessing robot memory in-game). I'd replay, if not for the issues mentioned above.
The game is very polished. It is descriptive...perhaps too descriptive, lol. It certainly filled me with emotions, not all pleasant. And the interactivity, once I worked it out, was really intriguing. But I don't plan on playing again!
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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Hanon Ondricek on 11 November 2019 at 11:44pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item