Neo Cab is poignant, well-timed, and special. A perfect fit for on-the-go platforms like Switch and Apple Arcade, Neo Cab would still be great anywhere regardless of platform because it delivers on all fronts for adventure gaming fans. With a memorable story that’s full of realistic choices and nuanced writing, Neo Cab is one of the best indies of 2019.
It's completely understandable why Neo Cab wouldn't be for everyone. A completely unique experience of this kind could alienate, and make it difficult to justify taking a punt without an in-depth examination of what to expect. Take the chance however, and an immersive, fascinating commentary on the evils of technology interspersed with a murder-mystery novel, are delivered. If excellent pacing and a character driven narrative are the major plus points when handing over the cash, sit back, strap in, and enjoy the journey. With the multiple endings on offer, and only a few hours needed to go from start to finish, the Switch feels like the perfect place to meet new people, embroil yourself in their lives, and appreciate the highs and lows of cyberpunk couriering.
Reviewed by: Elias S. Lutes
Developer: Chance Agency
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Platform: Steam (Switch and iOS also available)
Neo Cab is a wonderfully vivid story full of mystery -- where emotion is the only thing that is clear, and the bonds that you forge light the path to truth.
As a rare human cab driver in a modern world of automated technology, you take the role of Lina, a young woman taking a chance on moving to a new city full of fresh views to bond with an old friend. Picking up fares as you go, slowly the town around you unravels to show a darker side than you could predict, catching your friend deep in the shadows before you could blink. With her gift to you in hand, you're able to piece together the clues to find out what is really up in this city. Is the megacorporation Capra at fault? Could it be jilted admirers from the opposing activist group "Radix" to blame?
Neo Cab is a narrative-driven experience where every decision you make matters. Each conversation is steered by your choices, leading to information, anger, and sometimes a little vomit in your car if you're particularly unfortunate. While each interaction is incredibly meaningful and fleshed out, you must focus on managing resources, your own well-being, and the star rating of your cab service in a delicate balance or risk the possibility of losing not only your own livelihood, but the answers to it all.
With a wonderfully aesthetic graphical style that meshes well with relaxing tech-inspired music, the art direction of Neo Cab is sure to impress. This game never fails to set the mood with it's unique ambiance and charm, wrapping you tightly into the tale of intrigue and leaving you desperate for more. The world-building is done in a way that makes it easy for you to relate to the characters and identify the struggles of living in a modern society that has become so dependent on tech.
While it can be rough to deal with human kind in some situations, others can be heartwarming, informative, or even just emotionally draining. While being worn down in the chase to find your missing friend, at the end of the day one more cab ride could bring a crucial detail to light, or some much-needed extra cash to ensure a comfy night at the local motel.
-Rideshare Simulator: The Game
-Music is absolutely incredible
-I kind of wish there was a rewind feature, but I realize that would not lend well to the gravity of each decision you make.
-The main story itself seems to take sidekick status to the bonds and character arcs of the rideshare passengers.
Overall, I would say that this is not a game to skip out on. While the main story pales in comparison to these extremely well-written and realistic people, its still enough to keep you coming back for more. There is no other experience like this out there right now, and if you're in the mood for some introspect and a foray into the unknown, then its a good idea to just get in the car and drive.
This visual novel is wonderful! I had to stop and think of reasons it wasn't a 10/10. It didn't feel like a 10/10 game - I'm not artificially knocking it down! - but it wasn't immediately obvious to me what held it back.
The game is about Lina, a cab driver in a future Los Angeles (er, "Ojos"), who moves to the city to live with a friend who immediately disappears. She then drives around the city, picking up passengers and learning about the current political/social environment. There isn't any gameplay besides selecting dialogue options, but there are a lot of those options and the game never feels slow. There's also a clever "mood" mechanic that limits your choices depending on how Lina is feeling; as a player, I needed to be strategic about which passengers ("pax") to pick up if I thought they might tick Lina off.
The characterization and writing are excellent, and the pacing is very strong as well. There are sci-fi elements, social analyses, and good old traditional interpersonal conflicts. The nature of the game means you can lean more into the themes that interest you by picking up those passengers again. I found all of them interesting and well done, but I could see where other players might have found it heavy-handed. I thought most sides of any debate or character motives were shown well. Except for the villain. You love to hate the villain. They're awful and I absolutely know them in real life, too.
I did experience a few bugs, but nothing that affected my enjoyment of the game. The biggest gripe I have is that there is a ton of replayability to pick up different pax, but the frame story of Lina's missing friend kept interrupting me as I tried to explore other pax stories. It slows down the content. I also didn't love the animation style, as something felt a bit disjointed about how the characters moved, but that's really getting into nits.
HIghly recommend this game, especially if on sale. I was very lucky to pick it up for $4 on sale and have gotten 8-10 hours out of it. It'll definitely be a replay in a few years when I can't remember much!
The setting of Los Ojos feels alive, and its denizens are a delightful cocktail of awkward, savvy, charming, and repellent. While a playthrough can take around 3-4 hours, it’s worth returning to the world to meet different people and see how your decisions impact the overall narrative. What’s more, the dark and gritty aesthetic works well in a game that portends a potentially frightening future. At the end of a long shift, Neo Cab’s strong writing and effective story-telling make it well-worth hailing.
A title that is more like a visual novel than a video game, which has characters to empathize with. We can discover an interesting story. Neo Cab manages to connect with the feelings of the players and makes a good similarity between its futuristic world and the current harsh reality.
Neo Cab might suffer from inconsistencies and presentation issues in some places, but as a depiction of a near-future society corrupted by tech fetishization, and an exploration of how humans are adapting to automation and the rise of the gig economy, it's got plenty to say about how important it is that we all look out for one another. This is a forward-thinking game, but the issues it explores are extremely relevant in 2019, which makes for an engaging, stimulating narrative experience, even if the central mystery of your friend's disappearance is not particularly interesting.
While I had issues with Neo Cab, I will admit that it’s worth the fare. It perhaps didn’t set my world on fire, nor do I think it’s going to climb atop anyone’s list of favorite games this year, but it’s at least a nice ride while it lasts.
Neo Cab offers a character-driven narrative built upon change, disillusionment, and human connection.
Being a visual novel, its gameplay takes the backseat - pun intended. The game instead emphasizes a cast of varied and creatively drawn characters to unravel its story. Impressively, Neo Cab organically introduces these characters through its main concept; because you are a cab driver in the future, you meet many people each day for your work. This is a seamless and believable method to introduce characters while also getting a behind-the-scenes look at an interesting occupation.
There are also a few branching story and dialogue options. No, the game does not feature thousands of possible endings like Detroit: Become Human. It does, however, offer slight dialogue options to help the player express their approach to situations. These dialogue options differ in terms of emotion, which is a central part of the narrative and gameplay. These little dialogue options help inform client outcomes and some story outcomes. The player also chooses which clients to shuttle, which informs which characters can help progress the story. Clients with whom the player forms a relationship reappear and offer narrative guidance. As a result, the player is rewarded by making meaningful relationships with the game's characters.
Neo Cab features some light resource management to help diversify gameplay and prevent the story from droning on endlessly. The player must decide which "gas station" to visit depending on his/her current fuel level, the gas station prices, and the location of possible clients.
The game's pitfalls largely revolve around its brevity and limited gameplay. Neo Cab takes less than 5 hours to complete, and while you can replay the game to see different story events and outcomes, the player will likely want to take a break before doing so. And being a visual novel, gameplay is inherently limited. But I greatly I prefer limited gameplay over half-hearted gameplay, so I am glad that developers did not try to include mindless and needless fetch quests to pad playtime. Ultimately, you'll play the game for its story and characters, not its gameplay.
I had already played Neo Cab most of the way through on iOS via Apple Arcade first, but when it was put on offer on Switch I decided to buy it and play it all the way through on my primary gaming platform.
I enjoyed Neo Cab. The Switch port was solid as a rock. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, being primarily an Interactive Fiction with graphics bolted on, but for IF fans this is worth picking up.
The only thing I didn't like was the ending. It felt like the gaming was building to an impressive ending that simply failed to materialise. It might be that I need to play it again and make different decisions in order to unlock a different ending, but the ending I got wasn't at all satisfying.
I may return to Neo Cab in the future to look for alternative endings that better scratch my itch, but for now I'm glad of the time I spent with this game and will be moving on to other games.
Is otherwise great, but the dialogue freezes permanently a lot and I have to reload an old save and try a different path. Hopefully they work out these bugs so it can realize its full potential, since I have really enjoyed the first several game-nights’ content.
SummaryStay human in a world overcome by automation. Play as Lina, one of the last human driver-for-hire on the streets of Los Ojos. Your friend and only lifeline has gone missing; with no money and nowhere to stay, the only thing you can do is keep driving.