Being a big board game fan and a TTRPG player since the 80s, naturally I’m a big fan of both turn-based games and cyberpunk as a genre. So when I heard about turn-based, cyberpunk rhythm action game Keylocker – currently crowdfunding via Kickstarter – I was instantly intrigued.
With the planet Saturn’s subterranean environment as its unique setting, Keylocker takes place in an oppressive society that has banned music. Cast as rebellious singer-songwriter BOBO, players will use music to rise up against the Saturnian Satellites and their oppressive laws. Along the way, BOBO will interact with (and possibly even date!) other citizens – as well as engaging in rhythm-focused, turn-based combat against the Saturnian regime.
There are four character classes available to choose from at the game’s outset, which will vary the options available to players during their adventure – and these branch out to six more possible classes too. Along with the differences to the experience that the choice of class will bring are the conversation and dating options available throughout; with both romantic and platonic relationships with a variety of characters being a possibility over the course of the game. The rhythm action mechanics are fun and satisfyingly implemented; though more involved than the timed button presses featured in the Mario & Luigi RPG series, creator Nana Moon admits that those games provided inspiration for Keylocker.
It has to be said that Keylocker’s art direction is simply stunning, with vibrant colour schemes and brilliantly peculiar, varied character designs. The game’s unique and diverse pixel art environments and characters provide an unusual lo-fi/high tech feel, again strengthened by the visual design and the deep lore.
Largely the brainchild of the aforementioned Nana Moon – who’s wearing an astonishing number of hats in creating Keylocker, being the game’s writer, director, concept artist, game designer, level designer and UI designer – the entire team behind the title is comprised of just five people, which makes the entire project even more impressive.
The Kickstarter campaign for Keylocker has sixteen days to go, but it’s already reached 90% of its funding goal – so it should sail past the target very soon. It’s easy to see why Keylocker has resonated with so many people so quickly; it’s a charming, original, appealing concept with some great mechanics (and a fantastic soundtrack to boot).
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