Title: The Technician
Genre: Action, Indie, Early Access
Dumb Game Company
Dumb Game Company
Release Date: 10 Dec, 2018
quot;Do you mind? I'm trying to THINK over here!"
Do you like VR?
Do you like digital logic puzzles?
Do you like math?
Do you like cyberpunk?
Do you like trying to do digital logic puzzles and math in a VR cyberpunk setting while people are SHOOTING at you?
If you answered yes to all of those, first of all that's a weird thing to be into.
Second of all, check out The Technician today!
It's currently in alpha, so there's no story as such. The setting is that you're on an elevator trying to get to the top of the stalk. What's up there? No idea. There are a lot of angry people who would rather that you not get to the top, and a bunch of digital logic puzzles in your way. The guys are infinite, but they can be persuaded to at least give you a moment's reprise by offering them some high speed lead. It starts off simple, with simple logic, but eventually you'll be rewriting flash cards and jacking into the panels yourself. Just don't ignore the grenade that landed at your feet.
It's stressful, trying to balance shooting and hacking. Sometimes it's useful to just stop hacking and shoot everyone. They'll be back, but you can get yourself up to 30 seconds of quiet to think before they do return.
Fun game, and I'm eager to see what comes in the future.. FAIR WARNING! YOU WILL NEED A ROOM SCALE SET-UP TO PLAY THIS GAME!
Definitely a interesting gem of a VR game, The Technician scratches that little itch of a VR game that can mix two seemingly unusual tasks together stunningly well.
First off, the tools and the UI/Menus.
They are some of the coolest UI and VR elements i have seen in a VR game. The Menus feels smooth and natural to navigate with it's slide bar design, making for a interesting and intuitive style for the UI, fitting perfectly into the cyberpunk theme. The tools are just flat amazing. I don't think any other VR game has tools that seem to be as precise with interactions like they do in this game. Judging by these two alone the game gets a huge recommendation from me, as most VR games have a very clumsy UI with radial wheels and all sorts of rubbish.
Secondly, the gameplay.
I'll say it, it's not for everyone. You have to know basic logic gate functions and pre-algebra math as well as some advanced computing in order to get through some of the harder puzzles. And believe me when i say... it get's HARD. Trying to figure out what goes where with guards shooting from 2 different directions at you is quite a dizzying rush of fear and pride when you pull it off. It's definitely a bit too hectic at times, i recommend turning down the difficulty to 50% until you get a handle on things and maybe play through the alpha levels once.
As a early access game, expect unstable gameplay. I have had multiple times where the game has just given up. Once was the game just insta-crashed when trying to pull out a wire. Another time both my hands became stuck in a weird state where they were transparent blue and could not interact with items or objects anymore. And various other smaller bugs, like physics freaking out a bit on wires and such.
The music isn't too fantastic, could be improved a bit by simply adding in another track that plays. Sounds are alright, can't hear much over gunfire usually though.
All in all, it's a good game with some flaws, mostly the short size of it and the bugs/crashes do ruin the fun somewhat. I recommend it if you really like "Hacking" style games, but wanted something more then just text... and are willing to deal with the nature of early access games (as of the time of writing this review).
Score: 7.75/10. Excellent game. The gameplay is innovative and exciting but sometimes the constant gunfire can be a bit too much and it'll have you stuck on a simple problem far too long because you can't dedicate enough brain power for it.
Multi-tasking is fun with a gun in one hand and using the other for solving the puzzle itself. You can use the gun itself to flip switches and hold buttons down so it's not necessary to drop it to solve the puzzle. This is a HUGE plus and a great game design choice, helps with the feel of the game. It's not a wave shooter and a puzzle game, it's both combined and it's obvious that the merge has been performed well.
The wire physics seem to be fairly taxing however. My system, with a GTX 1070 and i5 4690 seem to struggle to keep 90 FPS in some areas.
All in all, this game is way underpriced for what it's worth. There's lots of room for content and the story itself (haven't finished yet) seems to be only composed of an outside hacker talking to you through a prompt, however the monologue they send you is fairly funny at points. They leave to get pizza rather than give you instructions!
Some critiques for the dev:
-Enemies sometimes hang out behind the panel, where you can't shoot them, this is pretty annoying
-Interactions are a bit unclear, such as detaching the wire from the three-digit computer thing. A visible laser or sphere that shows the interaction zone would help with that.
-When pointing, the finger extends past the open hand pose, this is pretty disorienting at first. I think the whole hand should close leaving the pointer finger as it is, seems more intuitive that way.
-The pistol's sights would be better if they were more brightly illuminated and in a different colour than the laser. Maybe green?. a bit expensive for what it is but that the sort of thing i like to play. I haven't advanced too much because flipping switches feels so good. It's almost therapeutic. A great logic based game that's also slightly educational (turns out you learn a hell of a lot faster when you're being shot at!).
I don't know if it's just the fact that I suck at video games, but combat feels a bit too punishing/distracting. Thankfully the difficulty slider solves the problem without being condescending.
So far the game is great and the dev is active and friendly. It's one of those games that's beautifully executed in VR, even if the content isn't there (yet). It just FEELS good to flip switches, press buttons and unplug stuff. I'd love something that helps with the combat a bit (Maybe a turret that breaks after a while and you have to fix it a similar way you work on the main panel?) Tall people beware, the lowers panels will involve a lot of crouching.
Overall I'm enjoying it and I'm looking forward to more updates!
Update 0.3.0 is live! I decided it would be better to let people start playing around with creating content and sharing it sooner rather than later, so this update has enabled Steam Workshop support for everybody.
The editor and workshop are both pretty rough still, so there's very little in the way of validation or error checking for user generated content. I expect this will lead to people breaking things in spectacular fashions, which I'm actually hoping will be quite useful in the long run. I also can't make any promises as to the life expectancy of anything in the workshop, so don't be too dismayed if your lovingly crafted puzzles vanish or become incompatible with future versions. If that doesn't scare you off then you can check out the workshop page and get to creating, sharing, and playing custom levels directly from in the game.
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