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Cyborg Arena

by John Ayliff profile

Science Fiction
2021

(based on 4 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

In the dystopian future, cyborgs have been stripped of their rights and treated as property. You find yourself owned by an entertainment company and forced to fight other cyborgs in brutal arena matches. Choose your badass cyborg body and your ridiculous cyberpunk weapon, and face off against your opponent in the Cyborg Arena!


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: gjbymnsx02bhwit6

Awards

Entrant - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)

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Number of Reviews: 1
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Combat simulator with a slick interface and blunt political message, October 20, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 30 minutes

In this game you play a cyborg, forced into pugilistic slavery by dastardly conservative lawmakers and corporations. You life involves fighting other cyborgs in an arena - "To the repair!", rather than to the death - for the amusement of the populace. Half the game is backstory on how you ended up in this particular fight, and the other half is a combat simulator employing a rock-paper-scissors like rubric for deciding if you or your opponent takes damage and how much.

The interface is well implemented, with bar chart stats, life gauges a la Mortal Kombat, and colorfully highlighted dialogue for the different characters. I also enjoyed how the fight interface was pushed to the background, but not eliminated, during the flashback scenes. However, there were some issues with the text. At times both "you" and your opponents name would appear right next to each other as if the game couldn't figure out who was performing the following action. Also, there were continuity errors regarding which weapon your opponent was wielding.
Text based choose-your-own-combat scenes grow stale very quickly, and this one was no exception. You are provided with some incentive to choreograph your combat in a particular manner, but in my multiple playthroughs I couldn't determine how that made much of a difference on the ending.

The background information and flashbacks I felt had the seed of a good story in them, but they were applied like a plank of wood to the face: lacking depth and unnecessarily blunt. I had just started to care about the characters when the story came to what felt like a premature end without the payoff that I was expecting. Also, I couldn't determine much of a political message other than Conservatives Are Bad. I'm fine with political messages in my stories and games, even ones that I disagree with, but there has to be some substance to the argument, some allegory to modern life, and some solution to the problem. I didn't feel like I got any of that in this story other than a generic rise-up-against-your-oppressors vibe.

I hope the author tries again with another IFComp entry next year. I feel there is potential here, but it didn't manifest in this game.


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This is version 3 of this page, edited by John Ayliff on 13 October 2021 at 6:14am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item