Neofeud ReviewA painterly point-and-click journey through near-future dystopia
Set in a dystopian near-future, Neofeud is a point and click adventure following the progressively more unusual exploits of cop-turned-social services rep as he tries to make things right in a world gone wrong.
With a handpainted look and cynical attitude, Neofeud is a small indie adventure set in a disparate future where augmented or genetically altered humans, alongside robots and other “deviants”, are considered unwanted trash in a segregational society buckling under its own weight and torment.
A Blade Runner-esque future
Neofeud drops you into the shoes of disillusioned social worker Karl Carbon, a man who is tired of losing his family and exhausted from trying to survive in a highly divided class system that manages to keep all but the elite firmly in the gutter.
Initially tasked with the usual mundane busywork of checking up on and investigating the various vagrants in the care of social services, you’ll soon find yourself being dragged into a rapidly escalating series of inter-connected problems and conspiracies that are set to impact the whole world.
Running on the Adventure Game Studio engine, Neofeud plays firmly like older point and click adventures from their golden age of the 1990s. Navigation is purely mouse driven, with the choice of looking at, moving towards, and interacting with being toggled with a quick rightclick. Inventory is managed from the top of the screen, allowing you to examine and combine items quickly.
The controls aren’t too difficult once you’re used to them, but they do take some time to get accustomed to at the beginning, and they exacerbate the difficulty and frustration of numerous timed sequences where you’ll need to perform multiple actions within a short time. These scenarios become more of a fight with the interface rather than a test of puzzling out what to do, and that doesn’t feel great.
There’s a surprising amount of voice acting in Neofeud — virtually all dialog and thoughts have voicelines associated with them. It certainly adds a layer of professionalism to the title, though the quality of the acting varies somewhat across different characters; unusually, some of the nonconformist supporting characters have more memorable and interesting vocal performances than the protagonist, which is a little unfortunate. Still, overall the voice acting is solid, and never deteriorates to the cheese-laden attempts that early pioneers such as Resident Evil fell prey to.
Perhaps Neofeud‘s biggest problem is the first few hours of gameplay, which go by slowly and tend to drag on a little too much. Setting up the introduction of characters and how they’re interconnected takes a little too long, and despite being peppered by the occasional death — something that’ll happen a lot — it’s a big of a slog to break through the first two hours or so. The initial experience is absolutely critical for any game (or movie), and failing to hook the player early on usually leads to abandonment; it’s a shame, because once the conspiratorial storylines start kicking in the game gets substantially more interesting.