A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Story themes touch on complex subjects such as artificial intelligence and hacking through a mix of text and contextual puzzles. There's a subtle but clear message suggesting it's rewarding to learn, take the time to think things through, and be strategic.
Positive Role Models
The player's character, a program, is attempting to survive in a hostile environment. It defends itself as necessary while riddling its way through logic puzzles.
Ease of Play
Players have been given all the tools they need for success -- including tight and intuitive controls for combat and movement -- but mastering them to the required degree takes time. Also, it's not always easy to decipher what needs to be done or where to go. A little more in the way of optional instructions and guidance would greatly benefit struggling players.
Violence & Scariness
The player's character shoots robotic AI enemies with blips and streams of energy from a variety of sci-fi weapons, causing foes to explode and disappear.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Recompile is a downloadable third-person action game for Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, and Windows PCs. It's focused on a sentient program navigating a mainframe, with players required to skillfully jump between platforms, solve contextual hacking puzzles, and get into occasional shooting matches with robotic enemy AI constructs using sci-fi weapons. Defeated foes simply explode and disappear. Concepts to do with technology, including hacking and the implications of artificial intelligence, are touched on throughout the story without any social or corporate agenda. Parents should be aware that the contextual puzzles often lack much in the way of concrete guidance. This will frustrate some, but players who make it through to the end are bound to come away from the game feeling rewarded for taking the time to learn, practice, and strategize.
Is It Any Good?
With just a few visual and narrative alterations, this could have easily been a branded Tron game. Recompile takes Tron's basic concept -- a program running around a mainframe, making perilous leaps between platforms and attacking enemy programs with sci-fi weapons -- and runs with it, giving you a world that is perhaps a bit darker and more dystopian than Disney's films thanks to its courage to dig into concepts such as what artificial intelligence might mean and how time passes within the confines of a computer system, which operates at nearly the speed of light. Everything's woven together with an artist's eye, creating environments that blur the line between what's real and what's digital while somehow managing to make tried-and-true game mechanics such as running, jumping, and shooting feel like a natural part of this virtual space.
But the experience could become a little frustrating for players who lack the perseverance to push through some of the game's trickier areas. Figuring out where you need to go and how to get there can be surprisingly challenging, given that the world isn't broken into clear paths with simple navigational lines to follow. And once you've found your way to an object of interest -- like a logic switch -- you'll need to work out what to do with it (plus any others to which it might be connected) in order to trigger the next event you need to progress. It takes patience, practice, and a willingness to experiment and do a bit of backtracking, but Recompile will likely feel like a tasty treat for anyone whose curiosity is raised by the idea of a game that combines the concepts of Tron and Metroid.
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