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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Guide the citizens of the future as a powerful AI running a cyberpunk city

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Reigns is a super-simple medieval management sim in which you, the monarch, make binary decisions based on a wide variety of scenarios that will either cement your place in history or, more likely, lead to your untimely and ugly demise. It’s blend of simplicity, variety, and humor is quite good: “The enjoyment is in the journey,” we said in our 82% review of the sequel Reigns: Her Majesty.

NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy looks a very similar sort of experience, but one that takes place in a cyberpunk world. You play as an experimental AI owned by a megacorp (of course) who’s been put in charge of running the city in all matters large and small, ranging from municipal approvals to aiding criminal investigations and (again, of course) harvesting data for advertisers.

Developer Dream Harvest said NeuroNet “plays closely” to Reigns, but noted some big differences as well. It’s more focused on telling a coherent story than Reigns, and ditches Reigns’ resource bar in order to encourage more natural decision-making rather than resource hoarding. 

“We want players to make a range of decisions, from the challenging to the mundane, but we don’t want them to be influenced by a user interface but instead by their own, personal, moral compass,” the studio explained.

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Dark humor is one of Reigns’ big strengths, but NeuroNet looks more like it’s played straight: Not surprising, perhaps, given that cyberpunk isn’t the most light-hearted genre ever imagined, but I do wonder if it will come off as a bit heavy-handed by comparison. We will soon have the opportunity to find out, to some extent at least, as a demo will be available to one and all from October 1-7 as part of the upcoming Next Fest on Steam. Until then, you can find out more about what NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy has in mind at mendaxproxy.com.

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