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A few days back, Anshar Studios released the backer beta for their cyberpunk detective RPG Gamedec. The beta allows Gamedec’s backers to complete a sample case from the game and learn how its systems work and interact. Alternatively, if you’re not one of the game’s backers or simply don’t want to play an unfinished product, you can also check out some hands-on impressions below.
For such a potentially complex and diverse world, Gamedec is, mechanically, incredibly simple - you point and click where you want to move, what you want to interact with, and which dialogue option you want to say or action you want to take. You have the option of using number keys and the spacebar to select these options as well, but aside from that and opening up one of the three in-game menus there are no other controls to speak of.
This was both appreciated and somewhat frustrating at times, as I enjoyed the simplicity of not having to constantly manage inventory items or special abilities – being able to instead focus on the story and the world around me – but there were moments where the “one button to [everything]” mentality got a bit stale (like when having to backtrack to a certain area or search a location for interactable items), especially when coupled with its somewhat lacking soundscape.
Gamedec is an interesting mix of highly interactive dialogue trees and ridiculously dated writing. Taking on a TTRPG style of character origin and offering direct consequences to the type of character you play is a good move. With those two features, I can only imagine the finished product being a robust game with high replay value. I’m simply on the fence about how the story evolves, or devolves. The lack of interesting characters and the insistence that sex dominates each conversation is concerning. The surface-level aesthetic or design of the world was a bit disappointing. While I spent most of my time in one world, I am curious as to how the rest of the game will play out, and if the narrative grows and matures throughout. There’s space for this game to become something big, but major changes need to happen.