The true goal of the game – raising the plight of the gibbon as one of the most endangered primate species in the world – is admirable and touching. If anything, the simplicity in the game’s design only serves to stop this key message from being crowded out.
The stories in Citizen Sleeper are worth hearing, but the fairly sparse and restrictive mechanics underpinning the game begin to buckle under the demands of that storytelling. More complications resulting from task categories may have expanded the possibilities here, but despite this, Citizen Sleeper remains a great cyberpunk diorama, and it’s well worth uncovering all its little details.
Martha is Dead swings about as hard as one can in its depictions of violence in order to communicate the viciousness with which war is infiltrating the lives and psyche of Giulia and her family, but it walks an increasingly fraught and unjustified line as more and more pain is inflicted on the narrative’s key players
The narrative flourishes of Backbone are wildly ambitious, and the tonal shifts will butt up hard against expectations set by the opening hours’ clear love for noir-narrative and tropes. It’s a game obsessed with change and transformation, and in a world as damned as this, perhaps that’s the best one can hope for.