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Sumptuous cyberpunk life sim Nivalis will have boat rides and serial killers

As revealed in this ASMR heavy story trailer

Oh, to run a noodle bar in a cyberpunk city. Upcoming slice-of-life RPG Nivalis presents a cosy fantasy: you can stroll through rainy neon streets, do a spot of interior design, chat with your lovers, rivals, business partners and friends. As the soothing and only slightly creepy ASMR-style narrator in the new story trailer reveals, you can also take boat trips while praying you don't cross paths with the murderous android serial killer on the loose.

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Nivalis is set in the same city from Ion Lands' last game, Cloudpunk, where you zip around gorgeous streets delivering packages in a flying car. What were once suggestive blurs of bustling city dwellers are now actual people you can chat with, serve noodles to and, if you like, romance. Progress comes in the form of expanding into new businesses and apartments, but the real pull is just to soak up vibes, man. Maybe place a plant pot or two.

I don't believe we'd seen boat trips before this trailer, and it does seem like a curious choice to build such a lovely city then have part of your game revolve round leaving it. Yet I do also like the idea of chugging out from the harbour, swapping the city bustle for roiling sea. It'll make my ramen shop feel all the more cosy when I get back to it.

Those trips also suggest a need to actually go places and do things, meaning the story could be more involved than mere Stardew Valley-style background happenings. I'm intrigued as to the murderbot, too. Maybe he's misunderstood.

Sin Vega was impressed by the previous version of the city in her Cloudpunk review, and found the story interesting enough to keep her attention. As she picked up on with Cloudpunk, though, blending enjoyable antics with horrible hypercapitalism is a difficult course to navigate. Nivalis seems to escalate towards dreamy wish fulfilment, which part of me wants to see subsequently punctured while another part just wants to run a genuinely nice little shop. Tricky.

If all goes well, we'll be running those shops at some point this year. Until then, you can wishlist Nivalis on Steam.

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