Whilst Cyberpunk 2077 might have people excited, it seems that 2064 was a good year to get a futuristic sci-fi fix too – especially for those who appreciate a good in-depth narrative. After releasing across other platforms over the last few years, developer MidBoss’ cyberpunk adventure title 2064: Read Only Memories has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch. This is the fancy ‘INTERGRAL‘ version of the game though, which brings with it a few additions that previous players will certainly want to take a look at.
2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL’s world is a futuristic one where technology rules and people are able to augment themselves to become exactly who they want to be. This doesn’t just include fancy new abilities a la Deus Ex though, but complete cosmetic changes too. Let’s just say that Mr Broflovski from South Park would have a much easier time becoming a dolphin and would probably fit in well with some of the other anthropomorphic citizens of this futuristic San Francisco…
Another thing that this futuristic world brings is ROMS: robots that perform all of the menial tasks and jobs around the world that humans don’t want to. However, whilst most citizens neglect these ROMS and see them as nothing but mindless machines, one engineer named Hayden Webber has managed to create the first ROM capable of sentient thought – Turing.
Of course, things go sour when Hayden Webber is kidnapped, but Turing turns to the protagonist to help find him (by breaking into your apartment of course, which is always the best way to get someone to help you out). With the help of the world’s first sapient ROM as well as some other helpful citizens, it’s up to you to find out who was after Hayden Webber and why.
2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL’s story explores many different themes, with some light-hearted and others more mature. This is a world where people are able to essentially change to become whoever or whatever they want to be after all, but it’s also one where they’re persecuted for doing so. You’ll find yourself in the middle of it all throughout the game and meeting plenty of diverse and interesting characters of different social standings, and it really makes for an intriguing and often eye-opening experience.
Everything comes together nicely to make for an engaging narrative that’s full of different twists and turns, and it will certainly keep you hooked in during the game’s roughly eight-hour runtime. There’ll be times when you have to make decisions of your own that will shape how the tale goes too, though they could be a little bit hit-and-miss – it could be a little difficult to understand the tone and context of your choices at times, so it’s hard to tell if you’re being kind to others or just a bit of a dick at times.
Whilst the narrative is certainly entertaining, it’s worth noting that the bulk of your time with the game will be spent reading text or listening to the game’s characters – 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL is a very hands-off narrative adventure, so you’ll want to get comfortable and ready to soak it all in. Thankfully, some fantastic voice acting helps bring the adventure to life, so it never grows boring nor does it stagnate the further you progress.
Gameplay-wise, 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL feels like a blend of a narrative adventure and a classic point-and-click title, with simple puzzles and interactions thrown in that feel similar to those found in the classic adventures of the late 80s/early 90s. The puzzles aren’t quite as convoluted here though, whilst you also won’t have to traverse across each environment looking through every nook and cranny of the map to find any hidden items – in fact, nine times out of ten the solution is always simply right in front of you and takes little to no work to solve. There are some simple mini-games on offer which do vary things up a bit, but there’s no doubting that 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL main priority doesn’t lie with the gameplay.
One of the things I really appreciated about 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL was just how charming its retro-styled aesthetic is. The different environments of the game are represented through static screens whilst the characters you encounter have this simple yet effective art style to them that looks like it came straight from one of those aforementioned late 80s adventure titles. One of the easiest comparisons to make would be to Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, with the inspiration not only apparent in the visual style but across other aspects of the game too. Everything is very creative in design though, with the characters in particular standing out with their often odd appearances. The only downside came with the environments – sure, they manage to capture the vibe of the game’s futuristic setting perfectly and they certainly have intriguing design elements, but their small size and static presentation means you can’t really fully immerse yourself in them.
Along with the impressive visual style, there’s a fantastic synth-based soundtrack which perfectly captures the futuristic theme of the game and seems to fit every scene perfectly. You can see that a lot of thought and effort went into making sure the game captures the cyberpunk vibe across both the visuals and audio, and in fairness the development team have pulled it off with a decent amount of style.
As mentioned, the Nintendo Switch version of 2064: Read Only Memories comes with some extras, the most prominent of which is the additional side-story PUNKS. PUNKS acts as a prologue to the main game which allows you to learn more about some of the characters that show up as well as certain events of the story. It’s a neat little addition that touches upon genuinely interesting aspect of the main game, so it’s certainly worth checking out.
2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL offers a unique and refreshing narrative that not only tackles a myriad of mature themes but also manages to entertain throughout. It does hit a few hiccups as far as the branching storyline choices are concerned, but in all it certainly kept me intrigued with its twists and turns as the tale drew to a conclusion.
However, whilst the game’s story will hook you in, there’s not a whole lot to the experience outside of that – the puzzle solving is limited, the mini-games simple and the overall interactions are few and far between when compared to the likes of Telltale Games’ releases. The meat and bones of 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL is based around reading and listening, with the gameplay side of things mostly left on the backburner.
If you’re interested in a futuristic thriller that explores mature themes, 2064: Read Only Memories INTERGRAL could be perfect for you. If you like to spend more time ‘doing’ things in video games as opposed to simply reading though, you might want to look elsewhere for your narrative adventure fix.
Format(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux