Welcome to The Red Strings Club, a thoroughly enjoyable point and click narrative adventure, infused with cyberpunk aesthetics. Featuring some nifty mini-games and brimming with ethical decisions, there’s a lot to like about this game.
Presented in the form of pixel art that is reminiscent of adventure games of the ’90s and backed up with a wonderful soundtrack, this game oozes style. Even though the game lacks any voice acting the narrative is told well enough that it never bothered me, I read every line of dialogue with all my attention which in terms of gameplay is crucial to getting the most out of the experience.
The overall tone I got from the game is all about emotion and what it takes to be happy in today’s world, well not so much today’s world, more like THE WORLD OF TOMORROW! Would it take a big social media presence for you to be happy, or to be sexier? In this world, these can installed if you wish, but will it make you happier?
The story itself is one which you need to really play for yourself, it’s difficult to really say too much without spoiling plot points but here is the gist.
The title of the game is a bar in which the majority of the game is set, Donovan who is the bartender is also an information broker. Donovan also has a clever little trick, he can craft a cocktail to manipulate a drinkers emotion, thus enabling him to gather information. This all comes into play when he and his partner Brandeis (a hacker) decide to take down a corporation named Supercontinent Ltd who are believed to be brainwashing people by blocking fear, depression and anxiety from their head.
I mentioned crafting cocktails in the last paragraph, this is one of the main gameplay mechanics in the game both of which whilst challenging and rewarding can often be a bit fiddly with the Switch controls taking me out my immersion of the game. As you carefully mix cocktails laid out on the bar you will aim for an emotion to exploit, drop ice cubes and eventually even shake to mix certain flavours. It all leads up to asking questions to your patrons to gather information which will help with your mission, whilst they’re no game overs you may not get the right answers.
Future pottery making is the first mini-game you encounter, as Akara who is an android you are tasked at making people happy by installing modules into their bodies. Before any of this can be done you need to first make them, by sculpting them. Seeing them turn green is very satisfying, even it does take a while to get used to. These modules are meant to enhance clients happiness, but then you start to question if it will really make them happy. The requests that these clients want all seem like temporary fixes, which plays into the overall theme of the game. You’ll also partake in some prank phone calls, no I mean Vocal Corporate Espionage as Brandeis disguised as important persons from Supercontinent Ltd, doing this will allow you to break the company from the inside assuming you do it correctly that is.
I was surprised at how much this game made me think about future technology and what that could mean for the human race, would it become normal to become Transhuman if that meant being happier?
With an interesting story, and fantastically written characters. The Red Strings Club is a highly recommended visit if you get the chance.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*