It’s about time someone made a video game in the cyberpunk genre. Well, at least one that seems to be finished upon release. Cyberika: Action Adventure RPG, published by Kefir!, is the latest entry in this recently popular genre. Despite a few occasional hang-ups, this action game with MMORPG elements manages to pack a pretty sizeable, futuristic experience onto mobile devices.
As a mercenary in the year 2084, you investigate the site of a famous cyber-implant manufacturer for a job. After activating your own implants, the holographic “ghost” of former tech giant Makana Biotech’s CEO appears, giving you a mission. Should you solve his murder (framed as suicide five years prior), he will release his consciousness from your mind and grant untold riches. Being a fan of untold riches, you accept.
The game starts up with a character creation screen limited to two genders with one body type for each. Although this choice is unfortunately not very diverse, you CAN make your hair virtually any neon color, if that’s any consolation. Upon receiving your first mission you take a short drive to your apartment, getting a tutorial on the tools useful for your quest. The top-down perspective serves the genre well, giving you a full sense of the environment and interactable objects.
On the Streets
All of the ambience of the stereotypical cyberpunk aesthetic you expect is here. An 80’s synth soundtrack runs beneath the action. In a particularly inspired move, each track and artist is labeled upon its playing. The look and feel is all consistent and yet each environment feels unique. Intentional time and effort on behalf of the developers is evident in that, while some sections may look similar, there is never anything that looks too copy/pasted.
Combat is fairly satisfying, with a variety of equipable weapons at your disposal, both melee and ranged. Equipable body augmentations enable strategy and skill development. Still, similarly to its sci-fi forefathers in the Fallout series most of the draw here lies in the atmosphere, dialogue and characters. Every interactable NPC is designed with a specific style and dialogue. While there isn’t a lot in terms of choices within conversations, clear personalities are front and center.
The Space Between
There are only a few gaps in the otherwise cohesive experience that is Cyberika. Firstly, while there is a fair amount of well-designed assets, they can be rather sparse in some sections. Some areas are fully fleshed out with glowing neon signs and interesting characters. Others will have large areas of similarly-looking office spaces for close-quarters combat.
Otherwise, my biggest complaint lies in the tedium of the crafting system. In your characters’ home are several crafting devices that you can acquire using the in-game marketplace. Not only do you need to collect materials to craft using the machines, but you also need resources to BUILD and use them. When the grind for in-game currency (without using the microtransaction options) is already something you have to work toward, this wall ends up being more frustrating than game-expanding. Of course, this may be adjusted by the developers in the near future. Kefir! has already promised to keep an eye on the game’s reception as it adds a slew of new content in the coming year.
A Fine-Tuned Machine
Overall, Cyberika manages to pack a lot of high-quality content in a seemingly plagiarized package. Surely, appearances suggest a capitalizing on the success of recent console releases. Even still there are a lot of details that make this mobile experience feel well constructed and thought out. Despite a few minor hang-ups, this game holds its own fairly well. Without the stigma of these other AAA studio games, I’m sure that Cyberika would have made a name for itself just as easily.
Is It Hardcore?
Cyberika manages to break through the mold of console-level expectations to create a unique experience that fits in your pocket. Its aesthetic and characters are unique enough to distinguish itself while paying homage to its forbearers. Without a few minor roadblocks, this game has the potential to rival some of the AAA on the mobile marketplace.