“Summer Night City” is a choice-based game about a blind bartender in a dystopian future.
Gameplay: In the first half of the game, the protagonist is imprisoned and interrogated by the oppressive government; in the second half, he works as a bartender and has more agency in directing the plot. The puzzle of figuring out how to communicate with the resistance is a satisfying one that’s more involved than just a standard inventory or set-piece one. 6/10.
Mechanics: For the first half of the game, the decisions seem (from my single playthrough) to be largely immaterial, mostly determining reactions to the linear plot rather than causing it to branch. In the second half, though, the player’s actions directly steer the plot. As a blind bartender, the main character can send and receive messages via drink orders. It’s a clever setup, and solving the corresponding puzzle is rewarding. 7/10.
Presentation: The game successfully conveys its oppressive yet somewhat mysterious dystopian setting. It’s not always clear to either the narrator or player how the plot is unfolding, and the corresponding sense of anxiety matches the tone of the game. The text is a bit overdone in places (e.g,. “give vent to an inhuman bellow”), but it’s largely solid. 6/10.
You might be interested in this game if: You like dystopian stories.