I know you might hear the word Cyberpunk and think of the recently released 2077 title and shudder with fear as you say to yourself, “Not again!”. This is not that review. This is about the indie title Disjunction (for the Nintendo Switch) from Sold Out and Ape Tribe Games.
I was provided with a free digital copy of Disjunction on the NS for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Disjunction is definitely an homage to the Cyberpunk genre, with everything you’d expect from a dystopian tech future with the same themes we’ve seen in titles of the recent decade or two. You’ve got your human bio modification, shady corporations, stealth and detective work, and the moral dilemma of humanity versus technology and its inner weaving of both.
The story follows three edgy individuals with their own motivations that slowly but surely get them to cross paths with each other. You’ve got Frank Monroe, the Private investigator who’s dabbled in his own less than savory choices when handling and getting information. He ultimately takes a job to investigate the truth about the murder of an officer by a well respected and trusted community leader.
There’s Lockjaw, an underground boxer whose past is sending him into a spiral, that being his daughter whose murder could hold the key to the answers he seeks and open doors to a far darker path. On his journey for answers, Lockjaw brings Spider, a woman hacker, into the fold. At first, she deciphers an encrypted tablet. The task intrigues her even more.
Each character has abilities and skills. While most of them are pretty similar, you have a couple of unique abilities that are catered to the character’s style of stealth and combat. The grenades and attacks are relatively the same for each playable character. There is a leveling or progression of skills, but the stats just feel so flimsy that it almost feels meaningless when you don’t really feel the impact of your chosen upgrades. Getting less than half a second stun or only five added health points just feels like you’re not being properly rewarded for your progression.
The dark atmospheric synth melodies really make you feel like stealth is of the utmost importance, which is great. I always felt a little fear when the thugs patrolling the environments got a brief glimpse of my character and their alert meter started to fill, sending me sneakily running back to my corner of the shadows.
Although this is great, I felt that the patterns of visibility from thugs to drones, to turrets, while diverse, felt inconsistent. While one drone I could easily take out, another drone, of the same type, would suddenly have a wider radius and instantly get me killed. I never felt like I could trust the patterns of the drones or even in my skills to get me out of dire situations fast enough. Perhaps this was the game’s intention but it did grow increasingly frustrating.
In that same manner, health was almost nonexistent in my playthroughs, and save points were vastly inconsistent at times. I spent so much time getting to a save point at low health, and then having to trek along the rest of the level hoping not to make a mistake or my character would die. Restarting over and over began to make the game feel unenjoyable because even when I would complete something, I didn’t feel properly rewarded.
It’s difficult to really rank Disjunction because while the atmosphere, choice of dialogue, and story-building were great, the gameplay felt very punishing at times. And while I do enjoy a challenge, having to retrace my steps repeatedly or being forced to flawlessly complete several rooms full of enemies on a single health bar and no health nearby made the experience incredibly tiresome and frustrating.
However, having said that, while those factors did leave a sour taste in my mouth when things got good in Disjunction they were great!
If you enjoy a bit of difficulty, with some trial-and-error puzzle mechanics, with a cyberpunk coat of paint and some stealth and dark atmosphere, I think you’ll feel right at home with Disjunction.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Author: Micah Carrillo
Micah is studying English and Digital Design. His love of geek culture spans across diverse mediums and genres. Comics, anime, films, you name it! He enjoys video games on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
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