Tales of the Neon Sea is a stylish narrative-driven cyberpunk puzzle adventure in which a detective and his cat solve cases in a dystopian cyberpunk city that’s run by gangs of cats.
In Tales of the Neon Sea you take control of Mr. Mist, a cyborg detective whose parts are well past their prime, and William, a cute little cat who can infiltrate the local cat gangs. They can’t talk to each other, but William can lead Mr. Mist to points of interest. In sections where you control Mr. Mist you can understand what humans and robots say, while during the sections where you control William you can talk to the cats.
The first thing you notice when booting up Tales of the Neon Sea is how beautiful the pixel artwork is, with nits neon soaked cyberpunk world being fondly reminiscent of Blade Runner (but with a whole lot more cats). The current build is split up into three acts, and while none of them have particularly challenging puzzles, they give a great introduction to the game world and how your detective work plays out.
Some puzzles are simple point and click adventure style “use object X with object Y” puzzles and as you never have more than one thing in your inventory at the moment then they’re pretty easy to solve. More interesting is the “Detective Mode” that you switch to when examining a crime scene which sees you searching for all the relevant clues then fitting them together as gears in a piece of clockwork until they all fit. William’s episode offers another interesting twist, with the puzzles being more in the form of quizzes, requiring you to remember things you’ve seen or heard.
The puzzles could do with being a little tougher, but other than that Tales of the Neon Sea is shaping up very nicely. The pixel artwork is fantastic, it’s got some fun ideas and the cat gang controlled cyberpunk game world is a fascinating place to explore. Blade Scamperer!