Beyond a Steel Sky Review
27 years later we get a sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky…The original came out in the hay day of point and click adventure games like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, and Broken Sword. As an “old” man, these types of games have always had a soft spot in my heart. I do recall playing the original but it’s been a LONG time since I’ve thought about this game.
Luckily you aren’t missing much in picking up the Beyond a Steel Sky, the game does a good enough job setting the stage for you and much of the game is focused on the present, not the past game.
Set ten years after the events of the 1994 video game Beneath a Steel Sky, players assume the role of Robert Foster as he finds himself returning to Union City on the hunt for a kidnapped child, only to learn that the city’s new utopia state is not what it appears to be. This game truly modernizes the old point and click and makes it feel like something newer, opposite of the nostalgia-driven Thimbleweed Park (which I enjoyed) this takes the same premise of talking to everyone, picking up everything, and trying to use things in any combination possible to keep the story progressing. The game does have a hint system built in to keep you moving along if you get hung up on something, they won’t tell you directly what to do, but more direct you in the right direction which will no doubt be helpful for those completely lost. The game also introduces a hacking mechanic which allows you to change the function of various electronics in the game done in a flow chart type system to change the processes of the whole if this/then that operation we see so often.
Graphically the game looks similar to a telltale style of a graphic novel with slightly fewer edges to them. The main city is stunning to look at and overall is an impressive looker of a game. Especially one that is a playable graphic novel style. Functionally however the game does suffer from some glitches. It’s a little surprising considering the game has been out for over a year on apple arcade and then was brought to PC before now hitting consoles. But I would expect updates to resolve this, ultimately nothing I encountered was game-breaking at all, but did take me out of the experience on occasion.
One of my biggest issues with the game was the voiceovers, for a game in this style that relies on the narration and conversation so heavily many of the game’s characters felt flat with their voice work. Some lines felt more like they were just being read vs being acted out by the folks doing them.
Ultimately if you are a fan of these traditional-style games, I think you will have a good time with Beyond a Steel Sky. However, if you aren’t, this entry would do very little to win you over to the genre.