Is Technotopia a world ruled by Aphex Twin? No. No it isn’t.
Around six months ago I wrote about an Early Access game on Itch.io called Technotopia. At the time it was incredibly basic with a couple of nice ideas. Well, it’s finished and released now, with the second half of the game ready to go. The developer has been nice enough to put Technotopia online for free as something to do during the current global situation. So, let’s take a look at what’s changed.
The gameplay in which you platform through an environment to steal a painting and/or escape is still pretty much as it was, but there has been a bit more added to it. Moving platforms are now quite common, as are spikes — although I’m not sure why those would be in an art museum — along with patrolling guards.
The previously linear levels seem to have a little more scale now. Before it would pretty much be a case of move in a straight line and avoid the cameras, whilst now there are various side paths you need to take to unlock routes or deactivate lasers. It’s nice that there’s a greater level of challenge now.
That isn’t to say Technotopia has become difficult as such, but there is more to it. The quick restarts are still there, meaning a failure won’t set you back far and there are still sharp controls meaning that those failures really are your own
Sadly a couple of features weren’t built on. The UV light that revealed hidden messages only makes a single appearance, and the spray to detect hidden lasers is also underused. It’s a shame, as these were smart mechanics that could have given the levels greater depth, particularly the UV light. There was scope for revealing hidden routes, or messages from other characters that could have developed the world a bit more.
The visuals have had a small upgrade, with slightly more expressive characters and better cutscenes, but they still aren’t anything more than simple geometric shapes. Level backgrounds are also still block colours with nothing to give them any personality. It is nice that there’s been a bit of polish, but there’s a fair bit more that could have been done.
Sound has been improved too, thanks to music being included this time — although the developer has told me it should have been present previously. Honestly, it’s pretty good and works within the context of the levels. The sound effects don’t seem to be here though in spite of the other audio improvements.
Whilst this isn’t an incredible game by any stretch of the imagination, Technotopia is an improvement on where it was. The developers at Island Games are looking at their work and seeing how to improve it. Whilst this is a simple platformer, it’s plain that the team working on it are getting to grips with level design and game development. Given time and effort, they may be able to work on titles that do impress in the future.