I feel like I can’t get enough cyberpunk-themed games. So, every time I discover one, I have to give it a try. In this case, Minotaur had caught my eye ever since its successful crowdfunding. Now that the visual novel is on Steam Early Access, I thought it best to do a preview of Nod Pikes’s route, who they added in a recent update.
Minotaur opens by having the players selecting Nod’s route, which contains five different endings. However, routes unlock as you advance with the story, but players will have to wait for new updates to be able to play them. In this dark mystery, Nod has to solve several puzzles with the help of Ollie, his personal AI assistant, after being trapped in his apartment building. During his escape, he meets others who will provide additional assistance.
During the story, Nod’s past is revealed, which works well for the character because I couldn’t understand him too well in the beginning. However, I slowly began to empathize with him and his situation. I feel like there’s a lot more to Minotaur than what can be assumed in this early playthrough. Nod’s route leaves a lot of room for additional mysteries to take place and questions to be answered. The game also occasional memory flashbacks to make the reader stay curious about future routes and have a better understanding of the characters to come.
You can move around freely in an area to solve puzzles. While this might be intimidating for some, Ollie can always provide advice, and she will tell you what to do next. This step is optional though in case you want to solve the puzzles all by yourself, although interacting with Ollie might have an impact on the story as well. Overall, this early version of Minotaur is fairly linear where you can choose to investigate surroundings or just rush through the story. Something notable is that even though the story is quite linear, your decisions make an impact on whether you unlock the next route.
The artwork is beyond charming, especially for an indie game. It has a specific style that made it easy for me to adore the character illustrations and world. While animations are limited, they are visible in particular scenarios such as smoke moving or characters showing emotions. I also found the soundtrack fitting to its cyberpunk theme. The music here is essential for immersion, especially during quick-time events that had me nervous. Minotaur has English audio, and I have to say that it raises the quality of the game due to how great they presented these characters.
Minotaur has a lot to offer in terms of charming artwork, high-quality music, and voiced dialogue. While I only got to experience Nod Pike’s story, there are many mysteries left unanswered. I’m still curious about the remaining routes in the game. From what I played, I enjoyed that decisions have an impact on the story and how the game handles the additional routes. The flashback feature was also a nice addition as it helped with the character development. Learning about Nod’s past allowed me to understand him and his situation a lot easier. The story also provides insights into other character’s relationships and lives, and I can’t wait to learn more about them.
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