The future is painted as a picture of success and harmony, where mankind has put aside its differences and works for the greater good. In reality, we will probably get more of the same as we experience now; greed, the desire for power, and war, plenty of war. Quantum Replica tells a dark story of an oppressive cyberpunk future that captures all these depressing images in its Totalitarian vision.
Developed by On3D Studios and published by PQube, this is a futuristic stealth tactical adventure title. You must use cunning, patience, and special powers to work your way through a city defended by heartless mercenaries. With an “us vs them” attitude, the power-hungry government will stop at nothing to quash an uprising. This top-down adventure title borrows elements from many much-loved games. It has a familiar feel and will keep you entertained even if it is a little rough around the edges.
Quantum Replica offers a depressing look into our future selves.
Set in the year 2084, you control a young man called Alpha. He is a vigilante who has no recollection of his past, but he has a desire and drive to destroy the government known as “The Syndicate”. This faceless entity will eradicate any threat that stands in its way and uses its technology and mercenary army to kill anyone that stands up to them.
The future seems a pleasant place and one that I can’t wait to see! The grim landscape shows a clear divide between the wealthy and the poor. In this futuristic vision, the little man has no hope of bettering themselves. Their only hope is Alpha and the team that bellow orders over the radio. Using stealth, and mind-bending skills, he must avoid being detected while hacking his way through a highly protected data mainframe.
The mechanics are well thought out, but lack finesse.
With a heavy dose of Metal Gear Solid stealth mechanics, Quantum Replica demands that you stay hidden in the shadows. Being spotted is a big mistake as it’s almost guaranteeing death. If you wander into your enemy’s cone of vision, an alarm will sound and all hell breaks loose. Your silhouette is etched in red where you were spotted and every mercenary in the vicinity will descend upon you. You’ll have to run and pray that you dodge the ensuing projectiles. I thought this game of cat and mouse was brilliant until I realised that the guards have tunnel vision! If you walk just outside their area of detection, they ignore you! I know there have to be limitations to their observational skills, but not seeing someone just in your peripheral view was just silly.
This lack of finesse doesn’t ruin the game, it simple taints what is otherwise a difficult tactical experience. As the game progresses the security steps up and you must use alleyways, rooftops and tunnels to avoid detection. Yet, stealth isn’t always possible, and this is when you must use EMP grenades, bottles, and non-lethal or lethal ammo to create a path. How you choose to tackle any situation is up to you, but if you make too much noise, you’ll have to deal with the consequences.
Quantum Replica adds new skills and bosses to keep things fresh.
Alpha’s memory loss is inconvenient as he cannot remember his training. As the game progresses, his training kicks in and he unlocks an array of new skills. Dashing and time manipulation give you the edge against the grunts and the bosses you encounter. The dash ability lets you sprint across crumbling platforms and dodge enemy attacks. Time manipulation slows the world down to a crawl and gives you the chance to adjust your tactics. Both are lifesavers but also quickly drain your blue power bar. This replenishes slowly, so the use of your abilities must be thought through.
“The Syndicate” holds the keys to the city’s technology. Cameras and computers must be hacked to give Alpha the edge. The mini-game of matching the image or code to three options was genuinely interesting. Though it was never truly challenging, it made you feel you had to work to crack the system.
The end of level bosses are nothing unusual and can be defeated with a quick game of find the weakness. You’ll spend your time exploiting their shortcomings to knock down their health, before moving onto the next stage. Where the game excels is the classic Good vs Evil against the Mad Bomber. The constant on/off fighting and evading his arsenal of weapons keeps you on edge during every encounter.
Old-school graphics with a dark and oppressive edge.
You won’t be in awe of what is delivered in Quantum Replica. The old-school graphics have been seen many times before, yet I liked the overall presentation. Using dark tones and vivid neon colours gives this cyberpunk inspired world an oppressive edge. The limitation of the enemy’s view was clear to see, allowing you to plan your approach. The levels appear large but claustrophobic as you work your way past obstacles and through tight spaces. Though little of it was original, it was well constructed and enjoyable to explore.
The audio enhanced the futuristic vibes with its metallic and cold finish. The stark barking of orders from the mercenaries was at odds with the warmth from the narrator. This emphasised the theme of Good vs Evil and sold The Syndicate as the heartless monsters they are. The soundtracks heavy tones complete the package and rubber stamps the depressing Totalitarian cyberpunk future.
A clean and clear UI makes it simple to play.
I’m not always a fan of controller layouts overlaying the display, but in Quantum Replica it works exceptionally well. The simple images show the mapping while keeping the display clutter-free. The obvious power bar allows you to use your abilities with confidence, giving you the freedom to enjoy your new skills. With responsive controls and clear indications where objects and bullets would travel, it was easy to pick up and play.
With its semi-linear narrative, I found an additional playthrough offered little extra. Most of the replay value came from the challenging levels and the desire to unlock all the achievements. If you are a completionist, you’ll need two goes at it as you’ll need to use both passive and aggressive tactics.
Quantum Replica offers few surprises, but it’s a challenging and enjoyable experience.
When a game borrows heavily from other titles it’s bound to struggle to define its style. Quantum Replica lacks a sense of originality, but its core concept and many elements are well put together to make it an enjoyable experience. I liked battling the oppressive regime and recommend you buy it here! Alpha is the key to a brighter future. Can he unlock his memory and take down The Syndicate?