Review for Born Punk
Born Punk by Insert Disk 22 is a wonderful adventure game. It uses the proven point-and-click interface and third-person perspective to create a humorous though suspenseful thriller. Imagine The Secret of Monkey Island meets cyberpunk. Aside from two frustratingly difficult puzzles, this game is well-constructed. The effort is apparent in all aspects: story, puzzles, art, and sound design. They combine to produce an unforgettable experience. Any fan of adventure games should consider playing it.
Born Punk takes place on Bornholm, a Danish Island near Denmark. The flavor of Norse culture spices up this story, which is rooted in excellent world-building. If the player looks at something in the world using the right mouse button, they may be able to find a more detailed entry about it in the lore library, which is accessible using the "L" key. A full explanation of the controls is accessible via the menu. The addition of the lore library made the setting more real for me and facilitated the story’s premise of a cold war between two rival corporations: Mitsotomo and Eurograv, during which a hostile influence entangles three characters in a web of suspense and humor that is intriguing and plausible.
Eevi is the first character that players meet. She’s a “combat hacker.” She tries to steal information from corporations and stick it to the man. Her day job is as a bartender at a local bar called On The Ragnarocks, and her personality is a cross between Wolverine and Catwoman. She even has metal claws! Her first task is curing herself of a wicked hangover and then curing her partner. After Eevi gets herself and her partner squared away, she goes on a mission to steal information from a local company. During said mission, she meets a pirate cat; although it's not a two-headed monkey, it’s still awesome. Afterward, she finds herself saddled with another major headache and other disturbing trappings.
The second character the player meets is Mariposa, head of a corporation called Mitsotomo. You discover that an outside force is controlling her, and you must learn about Mariposa and her world by clicking on objects. The hotspot indicator makes this task significantly easier. After Mariposa’s task is completed there's a transition to my favorite character in the game, Grandmaster Flashdrive!
Flash is hilarious. He’s an android disc jockey who wants to make a name for himself. He’s funny because he speaks like a rapper who can’t successfully wrap a Christmas present. When we first meet him, he needs a battery to keep running. After shenanigans that would make any fan of Monkey Island smile, he finds one and goes home to find some music online. The perspective then returns to Eevi and, after more shenanigans that involve Eevi trying to leave her home unobtrusively, she meets Mariposa.
We rejoin Flash in Cyberspace, looking for music. After gaining entrance to a site using a nostalgic password from the 1980s, he meets a talking microphone. Yes, a talking microphone who asks him to mix a song for her by following her instructions. He’ll be rewarded with access to a cache of music files. The song puzzle frustrated me because I thought each set of instructions corresponded to one turntable. After some research, I ascertained that each set of instructions required at least two turntables. Once I knew that, the song was easier to mix. Unfortunately, the instructions didn’t mention the need for two turntables. After Flash claims his musical booty, the game switches back to Mariposa and Eevi.
Mariposa asks Eevi to locate a signal for her. It leads her to Flash, who needs their help. Once the characters meet, they bond over the fact that they all have a mysterious presence riding around in their heads, and decide to get rid themselves of it. Achieving this goal requires raiding the world's other major corporation, Eurograv. At that point there's a lot of backtracking, following in the footsteps of many adventure gaming progenitors. Fortunately, it was easy to figure out what was needed to advance the story. Professional voice acting enhances the already palatable chemistry between the characters. The dialogue between Eevi (a cyborg) and Flash (an android) is entertaining and reminiscent of a romance novel.
The road to the finale wasn't always smooth. Aside from the song puzzle, there was a maze near the end that I conquered solely by dumb luck. I’m glad I did because the ending was worth the trouble. It held a twist that left me hoping for a sequel. It was worth the eighteen hours I invested in reaching the finale.
Aside from the frustrating music puzzle and irksome maze, Born Punk is a terrific game. Its engrossing story is brought to life by a wholly developed world and fully realized characters with palpable chemistry enhanced by excellent voice acting; and the music is also great. The presence of all these art forms working in tandem will ensure that players will be easily captivated by Born Punk.