Ever feel like you can read people? How about androids in this Silicon Dreams review – out now on the PC. A game about interrogation and emotional intelligence, only you’re not just relying on intuition, but the latest tech, too.
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Time to test whether Deckard was any good at his job by becoming an android with the sole purpose of interrogating defective devices that may or may not be a threat to the corporation
Silicon Dreams, from Clockwork Bird, is as good as it sounds. You play as D-0527, a newly created android with the sole purpose of interrogating fellow androids that have defects or developing traits that don’t fit in line with parent company Kronos Robotics.
Silicon Dreams Review (Steam)
As the game begins, so too does your legacy as you’re literally activated at your desk and immediately shadow A.L.Ex – another android that was developed to test the scope of AI, who may or may not be under investigation. It’s up to you whether you push your subjects or focus on the directive from control.
When Silicon Dreams begins, you’re welcomed to the organisation, with a very sinister statement, if you wish to read into it:
‘We gave you understanding, the ability to process information and communicate ideas.’Kronos Robotics
This was never going to be a game that would blow me away on the presentation. The mix of fonts and line heights mildly irritated me (I hated the letter a), but each to their own. However, for a game that isn’t about walking the streets of Mega-City or infiltrating mainframes with the latest augmentations, the game is riveting, to the point where I’d rather be playing the game right now than writing about it.
The layout is simple and pretty clutter-free, considering the amount of information projected on the screen. To your top right is the eye or the interviewee. It’s not clear if the pupils dilate at crucial points – that’s a big ask, but the effect is excellent and is the closest you’ll get to a Voight-Kompff test this side of 2065.
Where Were You On The Night Of…
Underneath the eye will be several camera setups that are activated based on the scenario and toggled to the left of the screen, then the rest of the screen is the interface. This is broken down into the dialogue trees and topics available on the left. To the right is your real-time diagnostics of the subject, a summary of their identification and beneath that, some key notes that will help you make your ‘risk assessment’.
With real-time monitoring (excluding the massive eye), you can keep tabs on their emotions and look out for unnatural responses. Emotions can include joy, disgust and perhaps fear.
With the entry tutorial of sorts, A.L.Ex is a model professional and the reason why they’re your mentor. However, ask enough questions, and you’ll see her emotions kicking in. In particular, when she’s talking of her employer, the fear factor increases. The data in Silicon Dreams isn’t remotely overwhelming and allows you to take your time. After all, you’re interrogating to get the answers; thus, there’s a need to observe.
Sometimes you will have to approach a subject using an indirect method or evoking an emotion to test a theory. This is where you get a dropdown menu with questions such as When did you last lose your temper/feel truly shocked/trust someone – and so on. Eventually, this will be enough to make your report.
Your responses in your report determine progression. Once you have gathered enough evidence, you need to answer from a dropdown list of questions in your assignment. If you missed something or want to review it, you can look at the logs for your conversations as, ultimately, you will decide the fate of the android.
What could that fate be? Tune in next week…
What’s So Good About Being A Human?
You decide if they go back into the wild, whether they require a service or decommissioned: murder, death, kill. Ish. Another reason why reviewing this game is a nuisance is because I’d rather take more time with Silicon Dreams and explore every option.
Take, for instance, the transcripts of your conversation. If you missed the visual clues, a spreadsheet aesthetic highlights one of the six emotions with an allocated number indicating how much the android reacted. Sometimes there are MacGuffins, and they’re playing you, so it is worth spending your time.
Art imitating life, I frequently disagreed with management’s response who would dock me points for my methods. Essentially, I was siding with the androids, but your whole purpose is to represent the corporation’s best interests. Do you ride the moral steed into battle and transition into a Marcus figure from Detroit Become Human, or do you do as you’re told and represent the company?
Be warned: if Kronos Robotics feel you’re going against the grain, you may find yourself in the interrogation chair too. At least you get to see ‘where are they now?’ for the alleged deviants you interrogated. Clearly speaking from the experience of the chair.
Seriously, Silicon Dreams is the closest to Blade Runner in terms of the job description. While you can’t gun down perps in plastic overalls, the drama and intrigue boil down to these interactions. Did I mention the soundtrack? Brilliant. It fits the role for the cyberpunk element but doesn’t feel like a parody and, much like G-String, a real standout.
Do androids dream of electric sheep? I didn’t ask them, but based on the reactions that some of these give, perhaps it’s best to leave that one in the air. We don’t want to upset anyone/thing. Especially Kronos Robotics. In short, if you get the Voight-Kampff and want to replicate that experience by using the best of your judgement to either liberate or become Employee of the Month, give Silicon Dreams some love.
- Thought provoking.
- Gives the impression that you are in control(!)
- Excellent writing and character traits.
- The closest thing to a Voight-Kompff.
- Excellent score.
- Kronos Robotics are pretty unforgiving.
- Don’t like the ‘a’ in the fonts 😛