Back to Union City.
Title: Beyond a Steel Sky
Platform: Apple Arcade, PC (reviewed)
Developer: Revolution Software Ltd.
Publisher: Revolution Software Ltd.
PC: July 16th
Apple Arcade: Out now.
Tl;dr: A mystery adventure game with a colourful cast of characters with fun thought-provoking puzzles.
Price: No PC price at the time of writing.
Apple Arcade: 4.99/month subscription
Family Focus?: Click here for more information
Beyond a Steel Sky is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1994 game titled, Beneath a Steel Sky, a game I’ve never played before due to me being only about 4 years old at the time and I’m not usually one to seek out point and click adventure games; unless they are recommended to me by friends or people in various gaming communities but no-one had ever mentioned such game to me before. I was surprised to find this game was a sequel when I looked it up. And I thought I had it bad waiting for titles like Final Fantasy XV or The Last Guardian.
Beyond a Steel Sky is a cyberpunk adventure game that follows series protagonist, Robert Foster, a man who grew up as an orphan in the Gap, an outback like a wasteland. He became orphaned after he was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash, the locals in the Gap decided to raise him as he was a young boy at the time and became a Gaplander. However, peace is short-lived as security bots from Union City arrive, annihilating the tribe and kidnapping Foster. However, it seems as though helicopters don’t like Foster so this one malfunctions and crashes as well. Foster manages to escape with the robot, Joey, that he created back in the Gap. Foster and Joey go through various parts of Union City, controlled by LINC (Logical Inter-Neural Connection) in an attempt to overthrow him to create a utopia of Union City. This part is used as a recap so people unfamiliar with the series can catch up.
The game starts with a boy from the Gap named Milo being kidnapped by masked people in a dog-like robotic vehicle called a Stalker. Upon hearing this, Foster takes it upon himself to track down the boy down and heads out into the wastes following the tracks the dog robot left behind. Unfortunately, they are hit by a sandstorm and awaken later to see a girl tinkering with a dead guy’s hand. Foster startles her making her drop her device and a bird snatches it and flies off; she runs off and we chase her to the loading docks of Union City.
As mentioned above, Beyond a Steel Sky is an adventure with a multi-choice narrative system which sort of acts like a bunch of mini-puzzles you must solve to progress through the game. You need to talk to prominent people within the area, using the information you gather to make your way to the objective. For example, you find the bird that stole that girl’s device, who’s name is Ember. We learn that the device is called a deet and the bird is called Big Steve because he is a big boy compared to the others. Anyway, you happen across a delivery driver whose truck has broken down due to the battery running flat because he used all the power to make sure the meats he was delivering stayed chilled. He offers you some food but a number of aggressive birds block the truck doors, so you gotta find a kid who has a firecracker but you need to help him with his problems to obtain it, you get the picture, right? I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin your experience.
Right, I’ve nattered on about gameplay and the narrative enough for now so let’s talk about the graphics. Obviously, Beyond a Steel Sky is strides above the 2D graphics from Beneath the Steel Sky back in 1994. However, the art design is handled by the same guy from way back when, Dave Gibbons, for those don’t know he is the artist behind, The Watchmen and these 3D models just make his art pop! Everything is so crisp and clean, I was running on the highest settings on PC however. It should be noted that the original game’s director, Charles Cecil is back at the helm, so for those who have waited all those years for this sequel, don’t worry it’s in good hands.
Overall, Beyond a Steel Sky is a really intriguing game with rich narrative and puzzles that really make you think especially when they introduce the hacking tool, which you obtain during that starting questline I mentioned above with the firecrackers and Big Steve! I’m not usually into these games or should I say, I don’t actively seek them out as I would with a JRPG but this game has opened my eyes to how great these games can be.
- A strong and rich narrative with an incredibly varied cast of characters.
- Beautiful art style from Dave Gibbons.
- Interesting and thought proking puzzles.
- A few bugs that need ironing out such as; unable to talk to NPCs.
Beyond a Steel Sky is rated PEGI 12 and T for Teen by the ESRB.
This review is based on a retail code of the game supplied by PR for the purpose of review.