|MSRP: $14.99||Category: Interactive Visual Novel|
|Publisher: Bithel Games||Developer: Bithel Games|
|Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch||Also on: PC/Steam|
Released Apr 11, 2023
Something has been taken. Enter a new Grid and forge alliances via visual novel gameplay, uncovering truths through Identity Disc puzzles.
In a new Grid, forgotten by its creator and left alone to evolve without User intervention, an unprecedented crime has been committed. The Repository stands at the center of this society. In the aftermath of a break-in, the future of this Grid hangs in the balance.
TRON: Identity is a visual novel adventure following Query, a detective program tasked with uncovering the mystery of what was taken and by whom. Finding yourself in a world built on unstable foundations and filled with whispered knowledge, it’s up to you to question suspects and investigate your surroundings to piece together the truth.
The decisions you make will actively influence the story, with a multitude of possible outcomes, good and bad – all depending on your carefully chosen words. You’ll interact with a number of intriguing characters, and decide whether to ally with them, spurn them, or even derezz them. However you choose to deal with them, you’ll need to recover their lost memories in your search for answers, puzzling your way through defragging Identity Discs.
TRON Identity is advertised as a stand alone story that can be enjoyed by anyone, even if they haven’t been exposed to the TRON universe before, and that’s partly true but there are definitely elements of the story, and the choices you’re presented, that only make sense if you’re familiar with the prior TRON movies and/or games. If you haven’t experienced anything TRON in a while, you’d be better off watching the first movie and/or second movie, before diving into this game.
In terms of visuals, TRON Identity looks consistent with the rest of the TRON universe and contains interesting looking character and set designs. The visuals are fairly static though, being a visual novel, and have very limited animation to bring life to the characters and setting. The most regular animated element is the rain falling in several of the scenes. This isn’t bad, but it feels like a little more animation could have been added to bring it more to life.
The audio for TRON is good as well, but very sparse. There is limited ambient background music and no spoken dialogue or sound effects, outside of the beeps and computer clicks when interacting with some of the elements and menus. Again, as this is a visual novel, I can see it was a conscious design decision to go this route, but it’s a bit disappointing from a player perspective.
The “gameplay” in TRON Identity is also very limited, as it is meant to be a visual novel, and really only consists of dialogue options and the disc defragging mini-game (which you will be forced to play several times).
Hopefully the defragging mini-game clicks with you, and you find it enjoyable, because you will play it several times throughout the game. If you don’t find it enjoyable, it will certainly detract from the overall experience.
The dialogue trees are sometimes interesting, but it seems like they don’t have big influences on the story, outside of a few key decision points. If they do have a bigger impact, it certainly wasn’t clear from my playthrough of the game, and (most importantly) it didn’t FEEL like they did.
You can watch some of my gameplay from TRON Identity below (including the defragging mini-game):
Finally, the most important part of any game is the fun factor, and that’s one of the biggest issues with TRON Identity: it’s just not that fun to play.
The story is certainly interesting, but you could get just as much enjoyment out of it by watching someone else play it. The best games have a certain set of qualities that make them worth playing, even if you know what is going to happen, because the gameplay itself is worth experiencing.
Unless you find the disc defragging mini-game especially fun and engaging (I did not), then there isn’t enough “game” here to make it a must play.
FINAL VERDICT AND SCORE
TRON Identity is an interesting expansion to the TRON universe, but it doesn’t last very long and the game-elements (dialogue choices and disc defragging) aren’t exciting enough and drag down the overall experience.
Thankfully, at $15, the game is budget priced enough that it’s worth giving it a try if you think it looks interesting, but the gameplay is so unimportant to the overall experience, you could get just as much out of it by watching a Let’s Play.
Honestly, you’d be better off waiting for a sale.
- Interesting dialogue and overall story
- Well designed characters and environments fit well within the TRON universe
- Audio is sparse but fits the overall look and feel of the game
- Scenes are mostly static with little animation
- No spoken audio results in a lot of reading and font size is rather small
- Choices sometimes feel irrelevant to the outcome
- Disc defragging mini-game isn’t exciting and engaging enough to be the only playable game element