An adventure-puzzle game that needs more time
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Developer: Neon Castle
Publisher: Neon Castle
Release Date: 21 Apr, 2020
Technotsunami is an adventure game set in a space cruise ship drifting near an unknown planet: filled with human-controlled robots, the ship could be the cause of an apocalypse called a Technotsunami. In order to avoid it, you have to collect all pieces of future technology scattered around the vessel, while also defending yourself from the dangers represented by the other robots.
An alternative, and definitely confusing, universe
Technotsunami is set on an alternative universe where, during WW1, humans acquired the technology to send ships with human-controlled robots into space. That though is the only bit of lore which I’m sure I understood correctly, as it is acquired in small bits from notes which most of the time feel incomplete or are quite confusing. Sometimes grammatical errors or strangely-built phrases pop-in and, making matters worse, notes are your only guide through the game, so not properly understanding one means losing time clicking literally every object in order to find a way to proceed.
The problems with the game’s puzzles are clear from the very start, where you find yourself inside a locked room and have to look for the key. The room itself is very small but, after some minutes of searching, I thought that the key could be one of the clock’s hands: turns out it wasn’t the case, but the clock itself was a safe, which code was the hour written in a note I found earlier. The note wasn’t mentioning a safe, though, and in order to reach the clock I had to jump on a table and reach it, something not really straightforward.
Walking in circles
The problem with Technotsunami is that it doesn’t help you at all in finding the solutions to its so-called puzzles, both from a notes and a meta-game standpoint. At a certain point in the game, in order to reach a new area, you have to destroy a grille closing a passage through the air vents: not only the said grille is hidden under a table, but before that point I found many other indestructible grilles, which made assume that the one closing the passage couldn’t be broken. Obviously, I was wrong, and the following twenty minutes weren’t particularly fun.
Bullets and platforms
While searching for clues you will eventually encounter hostile robots that will try to kill you. In this regard, the game is very unripe, especially with melee combat where everything boils down to stopping in front of the enemy and hitting it until it dies. Using health potions is mandatory if the enemy got to hit you first, which is basically every combat since they have a longer melee range than you. Ranged combat with the pistol is certainly better, but very basic and it does feel rather clunky.
Platform sections are very rare and can barely be described as “sections”, as they normally involve only a few jumps following very clear paths. While a little rough, with a little ingenuity and some good scenery these could be improved and become a valuable element for the game, whereas now they are just… there.
The one and most important side of Technotsunami to fix is the ability of the player to progress the game: there is an extreme need to clarify the player’s goal and the way to reach them, as backtracking for tens of minutes to understand that you missed a little element or that object behaved differently than the others is quite frustrating. Melee combat could also use some more range on the player side and, as it may sound stupid, the ability to close doors would be welcome, as they often block passageways and take some time to automatically close.
Technotsunami is a game in a very early stage of development, with no clear direction on where it wants to go. Puzzles and lore are very cryptic and proceeding into the game is more a matter of frustration rather than fun. I’ll say to wait at least six months to see how the game shapes up, otherwise you’ll end up with a rather frustrating game that won’t match your expectations.