As a genre, cyberpunk is exploding with popularity, realizing a resurgence after its 1980s boom. There are plenty of games popping up using it as a general theme, as the style lends itself well to our high def screens. But the narrative aspects of the category can be just as interesting, and that’s where 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL focuses its efforts. Narrative is undoubtedly the core of the experience, above almost all other action, and it pays off in a charming little adventure, albeit one that misses a couple of opportunities on the Switch.
2064: ROM INTEGRAL is an enjoyable game, reveling in the genre and its thematic clashes of technology and social issues, addiction and necessity. It’s certainly a 1982 view of the future, and thanks to some great storytelling it’s also very easy to follow. It’s light-hearted, and rarely dips into drama, but the variety of characters and their personalities are memorable and add depth to the experience.
Based on classic PC point-and-click adventure games, Midboss’s 2064 is designed around a series of static scenes that we interact with, looking for clues or talking to people (and robots) that may help us find a lost friend. It sometimes feels like a hidden object game, tasking us with clicking around endlessly until we highlight something that is of value. There’s always a definite solution that isn’t too tough to get by and moves us along.
It is wordy, however. The plot mostly unfolds through text, and walls of it, as characters stare at us from the other side of the screen while the story scrolls by. Granted, that’s a purposeful design choice; the writers want us to follow along at their pace, not ours, without skipping ahead to the goal line. It makes the game more linear and turns it into a visual novel, but that’s far from unwelcome — the writing is just that good. There are some a few minigames and puzzles throughout that
Integral is the definitive version of 2064, finding a home on a Nintendo platform for the first time. It includes a new prequel episode, galleries, music and more. On a big screen it looks and plays just like every other version, but there are a couple of bothersome quirks when playing on a Switch in handheld mode. For one, the text tends to overpower most of the screen, shrinking the rest of the visuals a bit and throwing them off-center. It makes the effective scene smaller. Another annoyance is that there isn’t a touch option in this mode. Instead of using an analog stick or a d-pad, it’d seem much more intuitive to tap what I wanted to look at.
2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL is a solid little game. It’s clearly geared towards those of us who might enjoy pacing more than action, or short stories more than blockbuster features. Either way, it has a nice mix of elements that combine into an experience that can be enjoyed in a single sitting, especially for those with nostalgia for the neon Eighties.
This review is based on an eShop code sent to SideQuesting by the publisher.