Can Androids Pray: Blue Review – An Existential Crisis Cut Short
Can Androids Pray: Blue
Developed By: Strange Scaffold
Published By: aPriori Digital Ltd
VECTORS: ACHIEVED… ENGINE: CRITICAL… SHIELDS: CRITICAL… FUEL: CRITICAL… WEAPONS: CRITICAL… EXISTENCE: CONFIRMED
What is the meaning of life? How would you know if you were alive? Is it real or just elaborate advanced programming? Is this AI at work? These are but a few of the many questions asked throughout Can Androids Pray: Blue.
Despite the genre tags labelling this game as “Adventure, RPG” it is extremely light on both.
What we have here is a very deep and meaningful conversation between two android mech pilots whose mechs have both been destroyed, leaving them in a critical condition.
Is This The Real Life?
You, the player, play the part of Cortney in what could easily be mistaken for an end of game sequence. Cortney and Beatrice are both assumed to be android mech pilots that have clearly got themselves into a spot of bother, leaving their mechs destroyed and themselves on critical life support.
Notice I said “assumed”, as this is where the fantastic writing really shines through. When I first started my playthrough, it seemed pretty obvious that they were indeed androids, after watching the HUD spring to life and seeing the myriad of commands bounce back and forth. However, as you progress further into the game and the conversation gets deeper in tone, not to mention all the choice words, you WILL begin to have your doubts. Especially as you never really see the co-protagonists for the entirety of the game.
Is It Just Fantasy?
My perception of the characters before me was even more skewed just by hearing their tone of voice through the text. I lost count of how many F-bombs that were dropped, not to mention all the sassy responses I was able to choose from. “Would an android really be programmed to say all these things, to think this way?”
Can Androids Pray: Blue did a great job in immersing me into its bleak futuristic world. To observe this conversation between two fallen combatants that, from start to finish, we never get to see. Throughout, the scene never changes, aside from a day and night cycle. This reinforces the fact that you have been talking all night. This style of gameplay isn’t going to appeal to all, however, I myself am a huge fan of narrative-driven games so I was in my element with this one.
Caught In A Landslide
Can Androids Pray: Blue has enjoyed much critical acclaim since its conception;
As featured at the V&A Dundee Museum, A.MAZE 2019, Game Devs of Color Expo 2019, Wordplay 7, and the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection.
I can attest to the amount of high-praise this game has received as I really enjoyed my time with it.
The game can be played in handheld, tabletop and docked mode with no loss in quality. Without no conventional gameplay or voice acting to speak of, the background music took centre stage.
Consisting of some great laid-back Lo-Fi instrumentals, it really aided the experience and didn’t detract from the setting or theme of the game. With the game being a little on the short side it does an admirable job of keeping the player engaged with the sheer deluge of dialogue options it throws at you. Just seeing this alone led me to believe that the game has been set up for multiple playthroughs resulting in a lot more endings.
So far I have taken the fairly light-hearted approach, though I intend to revisit this one to give the aggressive route a try. I won’t spoil any of the plot points or endings as I feel this is the life and soul of the game, so to speak.
No Escape From Reality
As I’ve mentioned throughout this review, I really had a great time with Can Androids Pray: Blue. I personally feel that there aren’t enough games out there that push the story to the forefront, but when they do come along I am very excited to play them.
For me, it really helps with the immersion and I felt that Strange Scaffold has done a stellar job with this one. The visual direction helped a lot to set the tone, opting for a polygonal cell-shaded art-style with an understated colour palette that made the sunrise feel even more special.
The soundtrack was equal in tone, having a futuristic yet chilled vibe to it. The writing was outstanding and despite the game being a little on the short side for my taste (can be completed in a single sitting), it never outstayed its welcome nor felt padded in any way. If anything it left me wanting more and I couldn’t believe it was over so soon.
Needless to say, Can Androids Pray: Blue is a very niche title that isn’t going to appeal to everyone. That being said, at only a mere £5.79 or $6.59, it isn’t exactly going to break the bank if you do decide to take a punt on it. Not only that, but there is a nice discount on the price should you pick it up before launch.
I look forward to seeing what Strange Scaffold come up with next. Will they elaborate on this world or take a shot at another great piece of storytelling?
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Review copy provided by aPriori Digital and reviewed by Micramanic.