Sub­sur­face Cir­cu­lar

TechLife Australia - - DISCOVER -

A ROBOTIC DE­TEC­TIVE AD­VEN­TURE. $7.99 | bithell­games.com THIS GAME DEALS with a robotic ‘Tek’ un­der­class that serves the hu­man pop­u­la­tion. You’re a Tek, and a fel­low Tek tells you a friend is miss­ing. You then defy your pro­gram­ming to in­ves­ti­gate the mys­tery. In­ter­ac­tion hap­pens us­ing on-screen text mes­sages, and progress de­pends on un­earthing ‘fo­cus points’ and ful­fill­ing ob­jec­tives.The writ­ing is tight and en­gag­ing, and the game takes place within a beau­ti­fully ren­dered un­der­ground train car­riage. Your Tek never even rises from his seat; in­stead, other Teks come and go. The game’s chal­lenges are clev­erly de­signed. One Tek de­mands a joke be­fore it’ll dish any dirt. Another ex­change has you use one Tek’s mood to ma­nip­u­late another. At times, it can feel rigid and repet­i­tive; de­spite the odd comedic off­shoot, the jour­ney is lin­ear. But while there’s lit­tle re­play value, there are no dis­trac­tions, just a com­pelling mys­tery. Sub­sur­face Cir­cu­lar also wil­fully sub­verts; the end­ing clev­erly spins ev­ery­thing around, and the in-game com­men­tary amus­ingly comes via an in­ter­ac­tive Tek. You will also get to en­joy one of the fun­ni­est in-jokes in gam­ing — not some­thing you get ev­ery day.

[ CRAIG GRANNELL ]

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