There is one video game genera that has almost become a niche market. The point and click style games. I grew up with these games in the 90s, Blade Runner, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and so on. Then it died away slowly, to almost none of them coming out at all. However, one developer is trying to bring these glory days back. With Agnès Vuillaume’s The Sundew.
You take the role of Anna Isobe, a cyborg cop in Japan’s new cyberpunk capital, Shibukawa. After the war, the more traditional robot replaced the cyber-cop. They have all but eradicated crime. Making Shibukawa a dystopia city. Anna is a cyber cop, one of the best, and she does not believe they can replace humans.
The Sundew will question many aspects of technological advancements, such as AI, advancements without humans in mind and automation throughout society. I really enjoyed the story with all its sci-fi talk, that is also partly grounded in reality (sort of). It does not drag the story out; it gets to the point and does what it needs to.
The Good Old Days
The Sundew is an out and out point-and-click game. You move the curser around the screen click where you want Anna to go or interact with and she does. You will click on everything and talk to everyone, hoping to solve the next puzzle you come across.
The puzzles here are logical and each item you will gain with your unscrupulous clicking has a fairly logical use. Whereas, older titles, where it is a case of clicking and hoping. The puzzles all blend in to the story as they are part of the world, and not just put in there for ‘reasons’. Mix in Anna’s implants and the cyberpunk theme becomes solidified.
The game looks and feels like the early 90s point-and-click games with its pixel art style. Bring back the nostalgia of the more blocky games I played. Where the game really shines is the use of dark and neon to make the contrast between the future tech and the people left behind. With the feeling of that, the city is dark, oppressive and not everyone is in a better place. Think Blade Runner and you will have an idea.
Not everything in The Sundew works as intended on the Switch.
As the move from mouse to the Switch’s sticks has not been an overly successful one. The main problem with no mouse is the pointer is stuck at one speed, making moving the pointer feel cumbersomely. If there are two items next to each other to intact with, enjoy! I always hoped the one I could pick would be added to my inventory, as moving to the next one can become a chore. There is also a hint button that highlights items that can be interacted with. It does not work as well as it should.
One other aspect of the game that could annoy some players is the abundance of nods to older games that inspired The Sundew. It will be a marmite affair. You will love it or hate it.
Overall, The Sundew is a decent point-and-click game that covers the darker side of a technologically advanced society. With an interesting story that will have you hooked. With a decent amount of puzzles to keep your brain ticking over. And let’s not forget that this comes from one person.