November 08, 2018

PAX Australia - Hands on with Neo Cab

One of the anchors of the PAX Australia indie section over the past few years has been Surprise Attack games, this year though, they changed things up a little. Recently they went through a name change and are now known as Fellow Traveller and with that change, came a more defined focus on the games they help bring to market, now while they had a number of games on show, I checked out two of them and I am glad I did, one of them was a game called Neo Cab.

Have you ever wondered what will happen to Taxi and Uber drivers, when automated cars become the norm, well that is the basic synopsis of Neo Cab, where you play as Lina, who is one of the last human drivers around. Recently arrived in Los Ojos, she is meant to crash with her friend, but she has gone missing and whilst she wants to find her, she also needs to earn some cash, so with that in mind, the first fare of the night is accepted and off we go.

Neo Cab is an adventure game, but its more based around the choices you make than any inputs you make, the first choice is where to pull up for the accepted fare, the two options will offer different cons and pros and as the goal is to maintain a high star rating, in order to be allowed to drive. So, with that in mind, I made the choice to park in a no parking zone, as it was in front of the building, something that the passenger wanted me to do, be as close to the front as possible. Once he was in the car, it was off to the destination.

The drive provided countless options to engage with the passenger, who wanted to provide help, whilst not a doctor or anything, he was adamant that he could provide medical help and such. The conversation changed depending on my choices and in the end, I was rated 4.7 stars, which meant my rating did not change, which was good, as it did not go down, but as it was already 4.7, it means it did not increase. Once paid, it was onto the next pick up, however that choice about where to park earlier, came back to bite me and the police pulled me over, but as I was new to town, I had no idea what to expect.

After being as honest as I could be, all snarky comments were locked out sadly, after making a ‘donation’ to the policeman’s ball and paying a slight fine, which was deducted on the spot, I was let go and onto the next fare. This time, it was someone who role plays for money and she was well into the character she was playing, I wont spoil how this conversation played out, just think crazy and you are part of the way there, but with her dropped off, it was time for another fare, however again the Police pulled me up, but before I could respond with any questions as to why, Lina's missing friend had her face appear on his visor, then the back of the car in front, the billboard across the road and every other screen in view of me and the demo came to a close.

Neo Cab surprised me, its slower pace, meant that I was not being forced into a decision, simply because of a silly timer. The story so far has me intrigued and will likely have me wanting to play it, the more I learn of it, but for now, I am cautious.

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