Keylocker is a Brazilian indie RPG that poses a mind-scrambling issue: what if Daft Punk hadn’t just been the composers of Tron Legacy’s amazing soundtrack—what if they’d been the protagonists, much too?
That… would have been much better, correct? I have a soft place for Tron Legacy thanks to its slick reimagining of that ’80s inside-the-personal computer aesthetic—and Jeff Bridges stating “bio-digital jazz, person“—but you have to acknowledge the total flick would’ve been improved by explicitly weaving that outstanding soundtrack into the tale. It took me about three seconds to nod an emphatic yes to Keylocker’s premise: you enjoy a punk rock character on a futuristic Saturn colony wherever new music has been outlawed, so obviously you use a guitar to rebel and mess shit up.
It is been a dry 10 years for stories that choose location inside computer systems. We maintain playing video games on our personal computers, but it is just not the identical. Now 2023 is shaping up to be a banger, many thanks to Keylocker and Capcom’s revival of Mega Person Struggle Community, which feel like flip sides of the very same aesthetic. If Struggle Community is a bit cyberpunk by way of Kidz Bop, Keylocker is more cyberpunk by way of the Hotline Miami soundtrack.
The demo, which I performed at Brazil’s global video game pageant (while it is also readily available on Steam) experienced me breaking out of a jail where I might been locked up for new music crimes, making use of rhythm match-like inputs to cause steps in fight. I’m fibbing with my premise a small in this article for the reason that it really is not technically set within a electronic laptop or computer planet like MMBN or Tron, but the aesthetic is a in close proximity to-best match. I guess futuristic Saturn prisons are a lot more or significantly less indistinguishable from personal computer worlds.
In accordance to the tale synopsis on Steam, the main thrust of Keylocker’s musical riot tale is protagonist B0B0 hunting for a drummer. But you know how it is when your authoritarian culture has entirely banned new music and thrown you in jail: you can not exactly go all over putting up band flyers. It is a amusing twist on the usual JRPG save the earth plot that I hope speaks to an abundance of persona in the course of Keylocker.
I failed to get to see a lot of that story—I expended my 40 minutes or so generally receiving to grips with the combat technique, which is not immediately intuitive. The change-dependent battles just take area on a grid (so attack assortment elements in) and the procedure is evidently riffing on the Mario RPGs with timing-based mostly assaults and blocks. Tap a button when you are about to land a hit to offer additional destruction, or faucet when an enemy’s about to hit you to negate a excellent chunk of it. I identified the timing hard: in some scenarios I felt like I required a much better feeling of when to faucet for my very own attacks, but I also appreciated that enemy attack animations had been varied and difficult to ‘read.’
In addition to a wellbeing gauge, each character has an electric powered gauge, which I would fill by pulling out my guitar and shredding on a speedy rhythm recreation-esque sequence of button instructions. The electrical gauge doubles as a shield to take in particular assaults and a meter to energy up attacks. It truly is not quickly crystal clear how very best to use it, and Keylocker’s demo is a little bit way too mild on the tutorializing, but I did start to get a experience for what I was undertaking soon after half a dozen fights. I could drain the bar to cost up a killer guitar slam, but doing that remaining my daily life gauge open to the subsequent hit.
Even if Keylocker finishes up currently being rather small by RPG requirements, I hardly obtained started—my demo time finished before I would even damaged out of jail. What I performed however desired some polish battles could be snappier, and the prison’s environmental seem consequences are so correctly grating that I really did not want to shell out any additional time listening to them. But it really is likely even now a yr away from launch, enough time to function on all those issues.
I hope it life up to the premise, since this sci-fi rock-band-defeats-fascism plot just feels very right for this second in time.
I’m glad to are living in the period of indie RPG developers iterating on the techniques of game titles they grew up with. Some lean as well heavily on their inspirations, but Keylocker obviously has its personal model and is remixing some outdated ideas into one thing new. Even the opening had me curious—you can select between a few character classes, which not only influence your assaults but acquire you down branching story paths. It was fascinating understanding from the bounce that my conclusion carried real excess weight.
And at the quite minimum, I am psyched to see a cyberpunk game that entirely embraces in fact becoming punk.