Neo Cab is a futuristic point-and-click game where you play as Lina, one of the only human cab drivers left in a world overcome by automation. The game is developed by Chance Agency and published by Fellow Traveller, and is available now on Steam, Apple Arcade, and the Nintendo Switch. I played Neo Cab on Steam and enjoyed the balance of choosing my dialog options carefully so as to please my passengers, all while managing my character’s emotional health. Moreover, you can even choose which passengers (pax) you’d like to give a ride to and when!
If you’re like me and thought, “I’m not really interested in playing a game that is clearly anti-technology”, whether it be for political reasons or the overuse of the robots-will-take-over-the-world storyline. Don’t worry, because I was actually delightfully surprised to find that the focus lies with the misuse of technology by a corporation with too much power and control. More than that, it’s about the importance of real human interactions. You’ll meet quite the variety of characters, each with their own stories to tell, if you care to listen. The direction of the story did surprise me with some twists that are definitely worth experiencing!
A Story About Connections and Cab-Driving
You start by making your way toward Los Ojos, a large city dominated by business giant Capra and their self-driving cars. You’re there to get a fresh start in life and to move in with your long-time best friend Savy. Your character, Lina, is scrapping by with her job as a cab driver and is disgusted with Capra’s monopoly of the market. When you finally arrive, you pick up Savy, drop her off at her request, and then don’t hear from her.
You’ll be spending the next few days trying to find your missing friend, and sleeping at hotels. Not only do you have to search for clues and uncover the mysteries of Los Ojos, but you also have to maintain your quota of rides and your star rating at 4/5 or above, in order to keep your job with the Neo Cab company. Money is also needed for your night-stays and gas, so everything you do has to be carefully considered.
Managing Your Emotions, Job and Money
Before Savy’s disappearance, she gave Lina a Feelgrid bracelet, a biofeedback device that measures your current moods and their intensity. It will instantly flash red if you’re angry, blue for sadness, yellow if you’re cheery, and green if you’re feeling relaxed. Generally no emotion is a bad one, but if the light starts flashing toward the outer edges, you’ll need to center yourself. Otherwise, your choices in dialog will be limited and controlled by your intense feelings. Things with passengers can get out of hand quickly if this happens. Furthermore, they can see whether you’re being honest or not because your heart really is on your sleeve.
The menu is laid out nicely, showing your current status, the passengers you’ve given a ride to, your journal where Lina doodles some funny interactions she’s had, your money, your mood, and a map of the city. I liked being able to click on people’s profiles and their current locations. I found that it helped to read what they wrote to get a feel for their personalities and if we’d be able to make a positive connection. It will also show how much gas it will take to reach them and then drop them off, with the route visually laid out.
Graphics, Soundtrack, and Replayability
The character designs were a little rough in terms of animation and art-style. However, the occasional views of the backgrounds and city with the neon lights, were quite breathtaking. My only complaint is that the dialog will continue on its own instead of having you click to proceed. I didn’t really miss any text but it made it hard for me to take a break, especially without the option of a pause mid-conversation.
My playthrough took about 6 hours but I wasn’t satisfied with my ending. Now that I know more, I’m actually going to go back and say that one last thing differently. I was so close to saying the right thing and getting the outcome I wanted, I know it! I also can’t get enough of Oona, the quantum-physicist or rather, witch of space and timelines. Very meta, Neo Cab. I’m glad I got the bundle that includes the soundtrack. It really did capture the peaceful vibes of late-night driving with empty streets and the hum of the car.
If you’re still not sure about playing this game, there’s a free demo available on Steam and the Nintendo eShop! While you’re there, I also recommend checking out these demos here: TRY OUT THESE GREAT FREE DEMOS ON THE NINTENDO ESHOP.
Neo Cab$17.49 CDN
- Choices and branching narrative offers a lot of replayability.
- Balancing emotions and job security was a fun feature.
- Peaceful soundtrack and great night-time city views.
- Automatic text leaves no room for bathroom breaks.
- Rough character designs and animation.
- Inability to select different viewpoints due to Lina's unwavering opinions (in some cases).