American Arcadia review: don’t miss this inventive indie thriller | Digital Trends

    “American Arcadia turns The Truman Show into an interactive indie thriller you don’t want to miss.”


    Great retro future artwork model

    Gripping story

    Strong lead efficiency

    Clever puzzle platforming


    Satire loses its focus at occasions

    Chase scenes get repetitive

    Trevor Hills is a wonderfully common man. He wakes up each morning, follows the identical routine, works at his boring desk job, and heads dwelling with out making a fuss. He’s a really perfect all-American good boy — and it’s about to get him killed.
    That’s the juicy premise that fuels American Arcadia, the newest challenge from Call of the Sea developer Out of the Blue. The standout puzzle-platformer takes the gameplay concepts of moody style classics like Limbo and works them right into a small-scale Hollywood spy thriller in regards to the world’s dullest motion hero. He’s not operating and leaping from a serial killer or big monster, however one thing much more threatening: a media mega-power that’s determined his boring life merely isn’t worthwhile sufficient anymore.
    American Arcadia is a pointy dystopian satire that takes jabs at capitalism, Disney, and actuality TV. Imagine a playable cross between The Truman Show and The Fugitive, all dressed up in 1970s retro-future model. Out of the Blue delivers on that premise with intelligent gameplay that replicates the thrills of cinematic chase scenes and hacker flicks alike in colourful 2.5D. It’s a small rallying cry for strange individuals who simply want they may break away from the dehumanizing company world.
    Under the dome
    When I’m first launched to the world of American Arcadia, every little thing appears hunky-dory. The opening moments introduce me to Trevor as he goes about his everyday within the titular Arcadia. I get some calm moments to soak within the intricately designed “city of the future,” a 2.5D metropolis that takes colourful inspiration from 1970s retro future design, earlier than I discover out every little thing round me is a lie. It seems Trevor is unwittingly the star of an unlimited actuality TV present set in a metropolis trapped inside a dome.
    It performs like an interactive mixture of The Truman Show, The Fugitive, and Free Guy …

    That’s the place American Arcadia will get into some juicy satire. A mysterious hacker named Angela informs Trevor that he’s one of many present’s least in style forged members, as a result of he’s simply too boring for viewers. Since conserving a forged member alive isn’t low cost, the megacompany that runs this system plans to chop him … completely. It’s a sharp-witted premise that takes purpose on the means capitalism reduces folks and employees to {dollars} and cents. That’s particularly resonant proper now, because the online game trade is within the midst of mass layoffs which have carelessly thrown 1000’s of builders out to sea. The fashionable workforce is beginning to really feel as cutthroat as a TV present competitors.
    Some of these satirical wires do get a bit crossed throughout the surprisingly lengthy journey. Commentary on actuality TV tradition will get combined up with jabs at Disney, an organization that the sport’s nefarious media company appears clearly modeled after. Those two items don’t at all times match collectively cleanly, however it does let American Arcadia paint a broad image of our nation’s obsession with cash, energy, and consumption.
    Out of the Blue
    Even if it’s thematically imperfect, the story is a compelling setup for a great previous Hollywood thriller. It performs like an interactive mixture of The Truman Show, The Fugitive, and Free Guy, with the common Trevor turning into an unwitting motion hero as he tries to flee the dome. Credit goes to Spider-Man voice actor Yuri Lowenthal right here, who turns Trevor right into a lovable loser that I can’t assist however root for. Lowenthal nails Trevor’s slow-building frustration, as every new twist he learns about Arcadia reveals simply how little management he has over his personal life. By the tip, he completes his transformation into a real everyman: a man who simply needs everybody would go away him alone.
    Run and hack
    To ship its Hollywood premise, American Arcadia adopts an action-adventure setup that’s most much like video games like Limbo. Trevor’s escape has him sneaking previous guards with a little bit of puzzling and doing a little fast-paced city platforming throughout chase sequences. The added twist, although, is that gamers additionally management Angela, who can remotely hack Trevor’s environment to assist him escape. It’s a one-player co-op premise that works surprisingly properly and paves the best way for some ingenious moments.
    … a wise spy thriller with different set items.

    During one early chase scene, I see a guard coming down an elevator. He has a view of Trevor’s escape route via clear glass, however there’s a fast junction the place the glass is roofed. I get Trevor into cowl and take over a safety digital camera as Angela, who hacks the elevator simply on the proper second in order that the guard’s vantage level is blocked. A later stealth section has Angela hopping between drones patrolling a room, utilizing them to stun wandering guards and clear the best way for Trevor. Inventive moments like that bridge the hole between motion and puzzle to create a wise spy thriller with different set items.
    Some segments play with the format much more. Occasionally, I take direct management of Angela as she infiltrates the enemy headquarters in full 3D, first-person perspective. An early scenario has me hacking safety cameras by putting dummy video feeds in entrance of the proper digital camera and sleuthing out a door code for a locked server room. At its finest, American Arcadia lets me reside out all my hacker film goals.
    Out of the Blue
    There are sufficient artistic gameplay concepts right here that American Arcadia by no means totally runs out of steam, although it’s stretched skinny throughout its seven chapters. Chase sequences can get repetitive after some time, particularly as a consequence of some inconsistent checkpointing that always kicks me again a bit farther than I’d like throughout difficult sequences that require a little bit experimentation. My consideration by no means wanders for lengthy, although; there’s at all times one other crowd-pleasing second able to crank the approval ranking again up.
    And viewers approval is every little thing in American Arcadia. It’s the metric by which a billion-dollar leisure enterprise will get to determine who’s worthwhile sufficient to reside and die. That heightened premise is terrifyingly not far off from our personal actuality, the place lots of of lives could be upended with the snap of 1 wealthy government’s fingers. The metropolis of Arcadia could appear to be a distant dystopia, however the sobering finale reminds us that the world exterior of its domed partitions isn’t at all times a lot better. All we will do is preserve operating and hope we discover our means out finally.
    American Arcadia was examined on PC and Legion Go.

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