PAX South 2019: ‘Disjunction’

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Disjunction is an upcoming steampunk, top-down, RPG game developed by Ape Tribe Games that is set in a future dystopian New York City. The game was featured at PAX South 2019.

You begin your journey as Frank, a private investigator who owes a debt to Lamar Hubbard, a man who has recently been arrested for killing a police officer. Hubbard is known for being the controversial community leader of Central City, a shanty town for the homeless in the Central Park area. As the story goes, when Hubbard was stopped by an officer, he was carrying an illicit drug known as Shard on his person. One thing led to another and Hubbard is now pleading innocent for killing a decorated officer.

Central City is now believed to be the place of origin for the synthetic drug Shard. As such, the mayor of New York is considering signing a major contract with a private security corporation to deploy cybernetically enhanced security personnel in the area to deal with the crime epidemic. Political pressure is being put on the mayor by popular opinion to sign the contract soon.

A woman by the name of Sibyl contacts you to do some investigating. She links a non-profit clinic that opened up in Central City to various arrests, including Hubbard’s. As such, she leverages your debt in order to send you to the suspect clinic to see if you can find some answers and help prove Hubbard’s innocence. This small mystery turns into a much larger conspiracy as the game progresses.

Although players start the game playing as Frank, you’ll get your turn with two other characters. Each character has four different abilities, eight cybernetic upgrades to play with, and 16 talents players can customize in a tree system. In the beginning, none of the playable characters have any relationship to one another. But, as the story progresses, they all find themselves on the same case, causing their stories to collide.

The game features more than 30 non-linear levels to challenge players. In each level, you can choose to sneak around and knock people out or go in guns blazing. The top-down view makes this game rather fun to sneak around in. The game mechanics also incentivize planning out your actions ahead of time. The WASD keys move your person around but the mouse cursor moves the extent of your view. Therefore, the cursor allows you to look beyond your character so that you can plan your actions out ahead of time. This game is rather challenging but not so much that a few retries will be enough for most people to conquer a level.

Disjunction is not an extensive RPG, but your dialogue decisions and actions will change how the game evolves. Some of the people who send you on missions may indicate how they want you to handle each situation. If you go against their wishes, there are often consequences, such as your employer purposefully leaving out information that may help you down the road. This game doesn’t try to explain every piece of the story to you; it assumes you are Frank and that you know your way around New York City. Therefore, important words, such as names and places, are colored orange and allow you to scroll over them to get more information on the subject.

The art is also something to mention. Although it is pixel art, the graphics are beautiful. The music is also wonderfully composed and really puts you in the atmosphere of the game.

Overall, Disjunction is a beautiful game, with challenging levels and an intriguing storyline. This is a game I would recommend to anyone. If you’re interested in playing the demo, or just want to learn more about the game or sign up for their newsletter, check out their website. You can also follow or wishlist the game on Steam.

Disjunction is set to release  in 2019.