Date: January 11, 2023
Are you the kind of person who names their computer? Do you feel guilty when for not upgrading your RAM, and instead letting your poor old PC desperately struggle to maintain dozens of browser tabs you’ll “get to eventually”? If so, you’ve got good company in female-led studio Naraven Games, whose upcoming narrative puzzle adventure game revolves around a sentient AI that needs your help to avoid being unceremoniously updated.
Backfirewall_ is set to release January 30th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X, and PC. According to the developers, their upcoming title is a first-person tragicomedy “Inspired by Toy Story, [and] its aim is to raise awareness toward how we interact with everyday objects and carelessly discard them.” The trailer shows us a game set inside a smartphone, full of puzzles and personified software. The character plays the part of the ‘Update Assistant’ and is tasked with helping the old Operating System, OS9, prevent itself from being updated to OS10 (a much better version).
The trailer introduces us to the snarky personality of OS9, who is fantastically voice acted and will accompany the player through the game. OS9 sets the humorous tone for the story, but he isn’t the only aspect that is amusing. The game’s setting, art, and minor characters are all hilarious, and they fit well with the game’s vibrant colors, neatly-cluttered environments, and droll dialogue.
The core of the game’s attraction isn’t necessarily its humor, however. In Backfirewall_, you’ll need to “manipulate your surroundings to solve puzzles, hunt down bugs, and use cheat-codes in an attempt to disrupt the update”. In a clever and immersive twist on a familiar mechanic, it appears you’ll type in “cheats” to alter the game’s objects and environments in order to progress. Blackfirewall_ will also have ample collectibles, some of which seem to be text messages that describe what the owner of the cell phone is doing.
Ultimately, the game seems like a refreshing and clever addition to the puzzle genre — and might even make players reimagine the mundane ritual of updating their OS.