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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Hack the police in this stylish cyberpunk visual novel

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Call me old fashioned, but I’m happiest with cyberpunk as a genre when it’s about a diverse crew of marginalized people fighting back from under the oppressive boot of an authoritarian corporate regime. You know, when it’s both cyber and punk.

I’m pretty glad to see Solace State, then, a visual novel with a unique style that dives into a cyberpunk world where biotech has been militarized and used to control society. The player is Chloe, a hacker who lives in a neighborhood that’s under intense watch by private police amid a crackdown in the wider city.

Solace State is made and published by indie studio Visual Foundry Corp, and is set to release in 2022.

The player will make choices that affect Chloe’s relationships with her friends: Local hacker Torrent, ex-lover and corporate sellout Alden, and community healthcare director Sueli. Those dramas are set against a broader story about protecting the community so that it has a future worth living for.

The most striking thing about Solace State is that its scenes are like 3D dioramas, and as text moves and choices get made the camera slides around, showing different perspectives on action and dialogue. They’re also colored in a style somewhere between watery inks and digital shaders.

Solace State was featured in this year’s Game Devs of Color expo, and there’s a bit about it you can watch below, where designer Tanya Kan talks about it and how she sees the different choices Chloe makes affecting her world.

Solace State is set to release this year, and you can find Solace State on Steam and at its official website, solacestategame.com.

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