Something I have always had a love for is sci-fi dysoptian stories. Especially ones that include robots or augmentations. So, when I saw NeoFeud, I was immediately interested. A point-and-click adventure that is set in the not too distant future. It has all the tropes you’d expect from a genre like this including the begrudged government worker, artificial intellience and time travel. The not-so-subtle political jibes at the segregated world that we live in are hard to miss as well. If I didn’t know any better, I would say this game was a political statement draped in a veil of science fiction. However, NeoFeud does have some interesting gameplay elements to it that were thoroughly enjoyable.
Set in the future, NeoFeud follows the story of Karl Carbon. An underpaid, under-appreciated social worker who helps those of non-human status through the system. Of course, all non-humans, including transgenic and cyborgs are second class citizens. They are treated poorly, unable to find work and given no help from the government. The plot takes Karl on an accidental journey of self-discovery. Falling into a conspiracy plot bigger than Area 51, he is helped along the way by Proto-J, a robo-teen, and a Princess who has no clue what she’s doing. From ex-cop to time-travelling detective; Karl has to find a way to stop the 1% from eradicating the rest of the population. And for all intents and purposes, its a pretty solid story.
It follows an interesting arch. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the constant political speeches. The reminder that we world we live in is a messed up one. Despite the fact that it was set in the future, it was clearly a game that was trying to play on current affairs. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just didn’t feel like it added more to the game. As well as the fact they kept throwing in various pop culture references into every other sentence. It isn’t a terrible story but the writing felt a little weak in places.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the gameplay. The variety in each section was nice. Of course, there were the typical puzzles as with any other adventure game. But, there were some nice segments to the game that I enjoyed doing. Of course, there were also some sections that I really didn’t enjoy either. Most of the game is pretty standard in terms of puzzle solving. I actually found most of the puzzles simple enough to solve. Which, honestly, was what made the game more fun. I felt like I could progress through it at a reasonable pace. There were also a couple of different gameplay segments that I quite enjoyed. Like when you get to fix Karl’s arm. Yes, it still involves clicking on things but it wasn’t always “put the key in the bucket and fill the bucket with water” style gameplay.
However, there were other elements I felt were frustrating. For example, the scene with the shoot out, although cool in theory felt very tedious. The controls felt counter-intuitive and it honestly must have taken me about 15 minutes to get the right combination of actions.
Graphics & Sound
I really love the art style of this game. It is all hand drawn by the looks of it and it definitely has the feel of an old school 90’s adventure game. Some of the scenes are stunning, my favourite being the Low Town with the High Town looming in the background. And the sound is also very good. The music works well with each environment and different areas have different sound effects going on in the background. Alongside the graphics, it really gives it a sense of place. The only thing I would say is that the voice acting was not always the best. Some characters were better than others but quite often it fell flat for me. I think some of the writing was a little poor in places. But, overall, not bad at all.
It’s a point and click adventure game. So, the controls aren’t hard to master. You can cycle through your various action buttons like “Talk” or “Use” by clicking the right mouse button or you can move your mouse to the top of the screen and select what you want. The controls are simple and straight forward and I liked that. Made doing some of the puzzles much easier.
Difficulty in adventure games can always be a bit hit and miss. It really depends on how good at puzzles you are. As I say, I found most of them in NeoFeud to be simple to solve and even if I didn’t get it at first, I soon discovered the right combination quickly enough. However, I did get stuck on one puzzle as I mentioned before which caused no end of trouble. I don’t know if this was just bad coding or if I had missed something but the fact that leaving the area caused the game to have a fatal scripting error isn’t a good sign. If the difficulty had been ramped up at this point, then it certainly changed pace very quickly to the rest of the gameplay. Otherwise, this game was super difficult and it meant that story progression was smooth and hassle free.
As I have yet to be able to finish the game myself, I can’t say for sure. It seems like a game that doesn’t really have multiple endings and based on the achievements you can receive for the game on Steam, there is a very linear storyline. So, I can’t see many reasons to play this game again. You could do it in order to gain all the achievements but I think I would like to see how the game ends first before I make a judgement about that.
One final thing I want to add is the fact that I was unable to actually finish NeoFeud. On one of the puzzles, I was sure I was missing something crucial. Now, perhaps I just wasn’t seeing it but I must have spent a good 40 minutes trying every combination of items on the scenery and the characters. Thinking that I had to perhaps come back to this area at a later time I tried to leave which resulted in a scripting error (and a serious one) and caused my game to crash to desktop. This happened more than once. I hope this gets fixed upon full release but in my version of the game it meant I was unable to get any further.
NeoFeud was released today September 19th 2017 on Steam