Previews// Codename Cygnus

Posted 12 Sep 2013 10:10 by
BBC Radio 4: that bastion of radio drama (and comedy, come to think of it). Literary classics such as Hitchhiker's Guide the Galaxy and The Lord of the Rings have received radio dramatisations that are still held up today as some of the most impressive pieces of drama ever recorded. Noting this and seeing how engrossed one can become when listening to such performances, Reactive Studios have decided to take the exceptionally bold move of mixing radio dramas with the choose-your-own adventure game-books that have re-emerged on tablets and phones.

Codename Cygnus is a current-day spy drama which has the player taking on the role of a secret agent who is trying to thwart the actions of a nefarious organisation known as 'Cygnus'. The player is thrown into a sequence of events that they need to overcome in order to prevent this organisation from taking over the world.

Codename Cygnus is the first game Reactive Studios have developed and is currently available for iOS devices that can support 6.0 or above (i.e.: iPad 2.0 and iPhone 4). The game is broken up into missions, which are in turn subdivided into episodes that last around 15-20 minutes each. Each episode is played out over the speakers and the player is presented with a choice of actions that can be invoked by either speaking them or pressing a button on the screen. At that point the action continues and more of the drama unfolds depending on what the player selected.

The game is presented through a stripped-down interface that shows which episode is being played and what options are available to the player. What the game lacks in visual appeal it more than makes up for in the sound department. That, after all, is where all of the action is happening. The voice acting that I heard was exceptional and the effects used are also very convincing. It reminded me a great deal of listening to radio plays on Radio 4 on a Sunday afternoon, which is no mean feat and something the developer should be congratulated for.

The game is delivered via a free-to-play model, with players buying additional episodes and/or missions as they play through the game. It's a very brave idea and one the developer seems to be pulling off very well indeed. The only question remains is, can they produce the level of content required to maintain interest in the game. Only time will tell...

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