Visual Novels,  🄷

Neo Cab: Rear-View Mirror of The Future: Review

Neo Cab is an award-winning visual novel released in 2019 somewhere within the future echoes of driver automation and the course of smart services. It involves themes of corporate monopolization, intimate driver/passenger simulations, and the management of being a business in the contemporary market. The story features Lina, an empathic cab driver new in Los Ojos, where being an actual cab driver is a rare occupation. There are many nuances to Neo Cab. Let me take you through them.

Meet Lina

The desert city of Los Ojos is a luminescent backdrop for the nocturnal journey of Lina’s relocation to this city. Neo Cab’s plotline for Lina hinges on some emotional preconceptions and some major miscalculations. If you’re unfamiliar with Uber or Lyft, I’ll explain quickly. A trend is emerging that has resulted in the wide culling of traditional cabs. In exchange, there are now drop-in drop-out freelance services anybody can drive fore.

This is about the progression where Lina works. The town of Los Ojos has embraced an entirely different form of universal automated transportation. The service is run by Capra. It’s an idea that has caught on as a possible future outlook in many proposals and speculations.

Part one. Lina, a human driver, does an initial pickup to feel things out, although quickly gets a vibe that maybe things aren’t going to be quite what she expects. The clients she picks up lead down more and more bizarre variations that cause quite a bit of disillusion. Lina picks up a past friend/lover with some heavy emotional past. The conversation is highly foreboding, but this person gives Lina a very important instrument to experience the story.

Remember Mood Rings?

Lina’s extremely flaky friends gift her a special bracelet. A clever tool in telling the story, the bracelet lights up with an array of color hues. The colors represent the actual mood of the wearer. Yellow is positive, green is relaxed, red is angry, and blue is just blue, depressed or sad. It’s interesting to see how different customers can run the gambit of Lina’s emotions with their bizarre antics. I gave a ride to a cyborg corporate spy that spiked the bracelet bright red. Actually, the next client does that too, but he’s rather passionate and respectful, so the bracelet turns chill green after some initial head-butting.

An interesting facet of this story tech is that the many interactions Lina can have are sometimes restricted because they are so extreme that they do not reflect her best interest. It is unique in a way because most visual novels have a few options that lead to a different reaction. In a nice, disguised mechanic, you get the sensation of what some of the crazy things you could say are, without actually even having the option to do so. These responses are slightly tinted in the corner with the color of the intense emotion.

The Cybernetics of Neo Cab

Occasionally, whether various sci-fi conceptions fall into the cyberpunk category reflects a trend in fictionalized stories, and if there is some sort of bingo board or what have you to put them there. Neo Cab is definitely part of the cyberpunk mass genre heart-thumping that’s around. Technology, big corporations, humans, cybernetics, and social deconstruction. Yeah, it’s definitely in there.

You might find also that this story, while quite a social commentary, is also what game tags would define as atmospheric and casual. You can jump right back into the game and find some passengers even if you duck out for a while after a long client ride. The art in the game is very clean and friendly too. There are heavy topics, but nothing real crude or graphic. There is some swearing, but it’s just in there–this is really a game for adult folks too if you’re wondering, although it’s pretty accessible overall.

Final Thoughts on Neo Cab

This game means a lot to me. It symbolizes themes from my experiences of city-living, technology, story-telling, and gaming–especially visual novels! It’s really a high-quality release and can hold its own as an indie yet an excellent product. You’ll find a link right below here to the steam page. The value is plenty strong because there’s quite a bit to do in the game.

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