Soul Tolerance review - robot in a cyberpunk Japanese city

Soul Tolerance: Prologue review – lifeless robots

From the developers of ENCODYA, this cyberpunk adventure is powered by a voxel (no, not the smash kind) engine, plus a different point-and-click style. As the first part of the planned five-part series, we guide a detective robot in discovering the dystopian future where robots have taken over. But is this little prologue worth your time and attention? Let’s voxel-dive in.

In 2214, all humans are dead. Hooray! But an omniscient AI entity rules the world. Oh no! Well, our job is tracking down an “illegal consciousness”, along with discovering what is going on with the Soul Tolerance, the self-awareness threshold which no intelligence is allowed to surpass.

There must be something attracting developers to futuristic Japan, as there have been a bunch of games with the same aesthetic in the last year, such as Edo no Yami. While this doesn’t help to make Soul Tolerance particularly distinctive-looking, I’m fond of the idea of different point-and-click mechanics, instead of the tired 2D settings and interface. The voxel engine is also pretty solid, love how we can see through the buildings with a nice graphical effect.

Rotating the camera around (with the keyboard or mouse, there is no controller support nor rebinding controls at the moment), we move Unit-12 as they are tracking down the mysterious figure of the Psyber Monk. This boils down to exploring quite a big map, finding out which characters and items we can interact with and solving puzzles. The map should be your first way of getting around, along with the help of some randomly placed waypoints which we can instantly travel to.

While having a good chunk of the city to explore sounds like an intriguing idea, especially for an adventure, this doesn’t work out for Soul Tolerance. Unit-12 doesn’t have much to say and interactive items are few and far between. But still, you NEED to explore everything as that is the only way you will be able to solve puzzles, get items and help robots in need. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to pass the time.

Characters don’t seem particularly memorable, as much as the writing tries to make them so. Like the sex worker robot who makes jokes about the stereotypes of the profession, but won’t even remember us if we engage it in conversation again. Or Unit-12 telling an informer “to get a job, robo-hobo”, the character getting mad… but then, being all cool and kind five seconds later. Also, these robots have human problems and discussions, even discussing topics such as the balance between privacy and safety, which is not something I’d imagine robots caring about.

Conversations do seem to have multiple paths but, like the example above, there doesn’t seem to be any consequences for being rude or just a smart ass, even though it barely fits Unit-12’s character as it just seems a generic robot with no personality. Also, despite him saying he was “just born a few hours ago”, he still questions characters with full-on knowledge of advanced concepts and even goes “fucking hell!” a couple of times. He’s a bit all over the place.

With a generic-looking cyberpunk city to explore, dry descriptions and unfunny dialogues, the puzzles should do most of the work here. They are overall okay, even though I could have lived my whole life without doing another sliding puzzle game. Again, the biggest issue is having to trek the city far and wide looking for items or clues with no objective (at the start we get told to “ask around”). Unfortunately, logic or game flow is not really what Soul Tolerance is after. For example, you can befriend a robot by finding a battery for him and the game notes “he can provide useful hints and information”. But then, the game randomly decides which of your quests you can ask about, with no further details.

While the mechanics are okay, the dry conversations and the random dive-in into topics that robots shouldn’t care about Soul Tolerance needed a bit more… soul to get players interested. But then again, this is just the prologue of what promises to be a long series and at €10 there are worse choices to spend a few hours with. If voxel cyberpunk games are your favorite dish, then Soul Tolerance seems to be a fairly satisfying entrée. Still, I’d recommend waiting to see how the dinner evolves for adventure game lovers.

Our Soul Tolerance review was made possible with a key provided by the developers. Soul Tolerance is available on Steam, with a console version to follow later.

Soul Tolerance: Prologue: A fair start to what promises to be a five-games series, Soul Tolerance: Prologue is an okay point and click adventure in cyberpunk voxel space. Damiano Gerli

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Damiano Gerli

Damiano Gerli was born with a faithful Commodore 64 by his side. It taught him how to program basic adventure games and introduced him to new genres. Then, he fell in love with Sega -- while the Master System wasn't as powerful as the Genesis, it was where he played Sonic and Outrun. Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple. Damiano is a gaming industry professional and historian, loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs. Basically, Damiano is been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on X at @damgentemp.