As artificial intelligence trapped in a human body, players will have to fight to survive in this cinematic cyberpunk action-adventure game.
In the annual deluge of new game announcements during E3, many small indie games can get lost in the fray, overshadowed by giant announcements from big-budget studios. However, there are many great titles that deserve more attention, offering unique perspectives and gameplay loops. One of those little games to watch out for is Replaced.
Announced at Xbox Showcase, Replaced is a retro sci-fi action sidecroller that mixes a low-tech cyberpunk world with high-energy combat and a story told from a unique perspective. Developed by Sad Cat Studios and published by Catsink, Replaced aims to be an elegant and exciting action-adventure that explores the idea of what it means to be human in a cruel dystopian world.
Replaced takes place in Phoenix-City, a dystopian metropolis where crime reigns on the streets and oppressed citizens live in fear and total subjugation. Much like any good cyberpunk world, a catastrophe (this time a nuclear event) has left society in shambles, vulnerable to those who would profit from such a collapse. Greed and corruption are in the driver’s seat, and the ruling class views humanity as a tool for its purposes, even going so far as to sell human organs as bargaining chips. Players take on the role of REACH, an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body against its will, who will discover what it means to be human in a cruel world while struggling to survive through thick and thin.
The world that Replaced present is as visually stunning as it is depressing and cold. It’s an alternate take on 1980s American history, and it builds its unique aesthetic and artistic style around that concept. Sad Cat has combined the old decaying world with fantastic cyberpunk-like technology in an efficient low-tech style. ReplacedThe world of is a place where CRT monitors with monochrome text contain artificial intelligence, and jukeboxes exist alongside murderous cyborgs.
This mix of past and future technologies evokes the worlds of Blade runner and Loan Player One, giving Replaced a grounded and grainy sensation. Neon colors dissolve into the neutral, grimy tones of the decaying cityscape, with abandoned buildings and homeless citizens providing a desperate backdrop to the dystopian world. Kind of like another cyberpunk game The last night wowed fans when it premiered in 2017, Replaced seems to offer the 2D dystopia that fans of the cyberpunk genre are looking for.
Even if Replaced offers a striking aesthetic, it is not a game that simply relies on its visuals alone. It combines a cinematic platform with a fluid combat system in an attempt to deliver an equally striking gameplay loop. As the trailer shows, players will need to navigate Phoenix-City with caution as Replaced constantly comes up with dangerous scenarios left and right – whether it’s crossing a high-speed train, REACH’s trench coat flapping in the wind, or battling a group of street thugs approaching all of them angles ready to shed blood.
ReplacedCombat offers a mix of melee and ranged styles that can be changed on the fly to deal with attackers. Players can take down an enemy at close range with a melee move one second and detonate another the next. REACH is a dangerous fighter, and players can dodge, parry, and counter enemies with correct timing and positioning, giving Replaced an almost rhythmic feeling to his combat maneuvers.
Absolutely, Replaced aims to deliver a cinematic experience that skillfully mixes thrilling side-scrolling action with deep cyberpunk narrative – and it seems to be succeeding. Using its unique visual style and combining it with exciting combat and platforming systems, Replaced chart its own course in a landscape full of exciting cyberpunk experiences. Gamers will be able to escape to this dystopian world and learn what it means to be human next year when Replaced launches for PC and Xbox consoles.
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