Replaced is a new pixelated action-adventure game that pays homage to many IPs throughout the ’80s. It is pretty easy to pick out what inspired this game. Everything from Blade Runner to Judge Dredd, there is a lot to digest with the new trailer that dropped recently. The story basically revolves around the mind of artificial intelligence that is stuck inside a human body. This particular A.I. is known as “R.E.A.C.H.” and, even though it’s adapting to life as a human being, it must find out how to rectify its situation. Therefore, he must venture out through Phoenix-City and brave the landscape that’s corrupted by greed, crime, and black markets. Set during the aftermath of a nuclear event, this city has rendered itself be an economic tomb that only uses human organs as currency. This is a lot to take in and it makes this new title all the more interesting to dig into.
The art design is made up of a 2.5D platformer which gives the level layout some serious depth. Indie developer Sad Cat Studios is taking what made all the action-platformers great during the late ’80s and early ’90s and blending them into one project. Given that this game takes place during an alternate 1980s, the design of the game is rather fitting. They have been working on this game for some time and the release date is still up in the air. Given that indies tend to slip under the radars of many gamers, this title definitely deserves some time in the spotlight. Even if older gamers want something that’s oozing with nostalgia or newer gamers just want something fresh, this IP has something to offer.
The trailer for Replaced showed that this game will be action-packed. According to the developers, this title will have “free-flow combat.” Now, the only example that many gamers know about this type of fighting system is the Batman Arkham series. Of course, those games took place within a fully realized 3D environment and it worked nicely. Since Replaced is generally going to be a 2D adventure, it’s hard to imagine how this will work. There are moments that showed the protagonist flipping over enemies to gain some space. Perhaps, players will be able to lock onto certain targets, only to switch to other ones on the fly. Nothing is really stipulated by the developers as of yet. However, the combat does look satisfying, teeming with all kinds of contextual takedowns and even a healthy variety of weapons.
The framerate of the fighting looked almost like anime. The fluidity and impact of it. Evidently, players can find enemies hand to hand and even use bladed weapons. There were some clips showing the main character exchanging blows with swords. Complete with blocking, parrying, and combos. It is not known whether these weapons can be obtained by unlocking or purchasing them. Maybe players can disarm enemies and use their weapons against them. Right now, everything is kind of just a guessing game given the little information that is available. What was also noticeable was the fact that there are also firearms. Players will be able to shoot enemies in the thick of combat, spraying ammunition around like some kind of “gun-fu.”
The dilapidated metropolis of Phoenix-City still has remnants of a cyber-punk culture within its rubble. The streets are riddled with homeless people and the infrastructure is barely functional. Hence, the main character has the ability to climb and leap across all kinds of facets in the dystopian level design. With “cinematic platforming” things around the environment will enhance the experience of leaping a climbing. This will be mostly through the camera work that follows R.E.A.C.H. with panning shots. Not to mention that the 2.5D element gives everything some composition. The protagonist doesn’t appear to have superhuman abilities. The platforming in Replaced appears to be rather grounded, which will require careful positioning and timing. Something that could be somewhat similar to Prince of Persia and its ilk. Whether or not abilities can be upgraded remains to be seen. Although the setting of this world is ripe with potential RPG elements, this isn’t concrete. This IP could very well just be a bonafide linear action-adventure with some power-ups along the way. At the very least, it may come with some unlockables to help with combat and traversing.
As mentioned before, human organs work as a currency in this world. How this works in gameplay is currently unknown. However, snagging a liver or something to trade for an item at a merchant sound entirely possible with Replaced. There seem to be scenes where players will need to fight their way out of high-octane attacks from enemies. Other parts of the trailer clearly showed more tranquil areas of the game, like walking down the street. They may be a linear game that has a three-story arc. Just like most of the games of yesteryear. However, it is possible that maybe there will be some exploration sections, that will provide some breathing room for players to find hidden secrets. It seems to be a vast game that will offer a variety of gameplay scenarios to mix things up. Hopefully, the developers will provide a little more information to help pinpoint what exactly this game entails.
An Inhuman Story
Sad Cat Studios has been keeping a pretty tight lid on Replaced for the last several months. Even though the current details are enough to garner excitement, there are still quite a few questions lingering in the air. Currently, this game is scheduled to be released sometime this year. Which quarter that they are aiming for hasn’t been locked down yet. Hopefully, development is at its final stages and players will be able to jump in and explore this enthralling tale. Replaced will be available for PC and Xbox whenever it gets released. Here’s hoping that this game gets released soon so seasoned players can have a trip down memory lane back when the simplicity of game design was all the charm they needed.