Games often struggle with world-building. From the outset, it was clear Neofeud would be one of few which does not.
You enter in the not-so-human shoes of Karl Carbon, an ex-cop from Coastlandia’s Police Department who is now a social worker. You traverse by walking around 2D environments and investigating objects in a point-and-click fashion that is reminiscent of Beneath a Steel Sky and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
There exist puzzles and mini-games as well which help break-up the usual clicking on people and objects in order to progress. They are not too difficult and help the player further understand the world of Neofeud, especially Carbon’s mechanical, multi-function arm. As Carbon, you use your previous detective skills to solve an ever-evolving case.
Given the changing environments and variety of puzzles and objects to examine, the gameplay never feels stale. I do not recall any repetition as each puzzle is contextual. The game even introduces a cover fire mechanic in one section, where you can switch between two characters as Carbon tries to find an escape. It was a little confusing at first, but given the game’s development by a sole individual, it is pretty remarkable that such a different mechanic is introduced later on.
Karl can die, but Neofeud succeeds where few AAA titles do. It promptly reloads at the point in a conflict or puzzle where you just died. I remember thinking I would have to do the cover sequence from the start after moving to its second half and dying, but the game very nicely placed me back at the transition point.
The art style lends the game even more of a unique voice. All characters and environments were hand-painted and the detail and style do not go unappreciated. They further draw you into the game’s bleak, noir vision of the future. I haven’t seen art like this for some time and it instantly reminds you of many famous science fiction properties while also maintaining its own stylistic identity.
The music also gives Neofeud its own feel. Ambient tracks include the sounds of technological equipment such as dial-up modems, which in this futuristic environment is almost haunting. Tense scenes are accompanied by the appropriate music, as are investigative ones.
Sound design goes a long way in making a work of fiction feel real and Neofeud is no exception. The sounds, from Karl’s bio-mechanical arm, to spacecraft movement, are well suited for the game.
Once you beat the story there is little replay value aside from going back through for achievements. This is not necessarily a downside, as the game boasts 15+ hours of gameplay. This time can vary based on how much time you spend taking in the environment and going through conversations. Given the $15 price tag, that is a pretty fair price for a game with this much content.
Silver Spook Games has kept the community updated throughout the development process across platforms such as Steam and Patreon. and will surely maintain that dynamic as people play the game and if it needs patches.
I did not know what to expect going into Neofeud, but I came out excited to see what’s next for Silver Spook Games. The game has more than the surface indicates, which I loved. It offers social commentary, much like its many influences, but successfully stands on its own.
In the end, the art, gameplay, music and story come together to deliver a solid game. Check it out if you are looking for something different and cerebral.
Neofeud launches today on Steam.