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Cyber Manhunt: New World Demo - Initial Impressions

Spiral Up was kind enough to share the new demo for their upcoming game, Cyber Manhunt: New World. It's a self-described "narrative-driven puzzle game that combines themes of big data, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence" per its Steam page.

The description is apt, but it does not fully capture the heart-wrenching nature of the stories contained in the demo. The gameplay follows the theme of bullying and includes graphic descriptions of violence, sexual harrassment and assault, murder, and suicide. If you find any of the aforementioned topics triggering, I would suggest skipping this one.

That being said, if you can stomach the seriousness of the topics at hand, the demo is well worth your time. Although the gameplay mechanics are a lot to learn in one sitting, optional hints are available to hold your hand if you have never played this genre before. Furthermore, you will have no trouble enjoying the demo if you, like myself, have not experienced the original Cyber Manhunt.

The premise involves taking the perspective of an advanced AI. Titan, the company that developed the AI, assigns various tasks that require you to dig through sensitive personal information. In doing so, you will determine the truth of each situation and assign blame to the responsible parties.

The characters' stories are a little too extreme to feel realistic. However, piecing together their lives by uncovering their secrets proves immensely satisfying. Downtime and empty space are non-existent; you move from one dark secret to the next in rapid succession. People who seem innocent or meek can quickly become killers, and people who seem vile can quickly become victimized. I am amazed by how evil the characters are, but I am equally amazed by how much I like them. The characters' brutality makes their vulnerable moments shine brighter and strikes a wonderful balance in terms of moral ambiguity.

If you enjoyed games like Eliza (referenced #3 here) and Orwell: Keeping An Eye On You (reviewed here with guide available), I think you will greatly enjoy the new Cyber Manhunt demo. The demo is free and available to play now on Steam (here). Overall, I am impressed by the density of the demo and look forward to playing the full game upon release. Add it to your wishlist to stay updated on the game's release info!

Thank you to the Spiral Up team for advance communication about the demo!

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