The lurid vaporwave hyper-capitalist, pseudo-Japanese nonsense internet of Broken Reality is a deep circle of hell, but a fun place to explore and mess around in. Released today by Dynamic Media Triad along with a free demo, Broken Reality is an exploration adventure set on the intertubes, with tongue firmly in cheek. You thrust your big virtual thumb at things for kudos, slash pop-up ads with a katana and spend far too frivolously as you work your way up the internet social ladder. Furiously click the launch trailer below or snag the demo on Steam here.
From what I’ve played of the demo so far (there seems to be plenty to explore there), Broken Reality’s internet is very Web 1.0, filtered through lenses of ironic detachment and daft sincerity. The final aesthetic is very modern, though – cutting-edge vaporwave, leaping crystal dolphins and all. As for how it plays, it reminds me a bit of Lilith’s Crypt Worlds, only with less slime, piss and Russian knock-off Nintendo hardware. It has some of that same feel, though – of exploring a dreamlike, nonsense landscape filled with equally nonsensical NPCs who want you to do odd jobs.
You start the demo off with just the ability to thrust your thumb at things – sometimes repeatedly. You can use this to like ads for social points, although it feels just about as useless as it sounds. Judging by the trailer, you eventually build up an interesting pallette of verbs, including a credit card for Doing Capitalism at things and a katana for slicing things in your way. There’s also a camera for snapping pictures of pre-approved ‘scenic’ locations. While mostly chill, the full game promises “arcade-style minigames”, but no violence beyond the occasional pop-up demolished.
Broken Reality is out now on Steam and costs £10.25/€13.49/$13.49. You can grab the free demo on the same page, just look in the side-bar on the right. The game is published by Digital Tribe.