Read Only Memories: Neurodiver is the vibrant, queer cyberpunk fantasy world we never knew we needed
In this world of Neo-San Francisco memories are malleable. Like a hard drive, files can become corrupt, defragmented, or completely overwritten. And with the help of an Esper, forgotten memories can be recovered – for better or worse.
That computer analogy is fitting for a cyberpunk world of machines and androids, humans and animal hybrids. It’s the same world as the developer’s previous game, 2064: Read Only Memories, and follows a similar adventure structure presented through vibrant pixel art.
As Esper ES88, you’re able to form a psychic link with intelligent lifeforms using the titular Neurodiver: a living, organic machine you can hook up to willing subjects. It’s something like psychotherapy, as both ES88 and the subject re-live memories and piece together clues from the past.
In practice, that means detective work. The game takes the form of a narrative point and click adventure game that has you analysing these environments of the mind, gathering items to repair corrupt memories that appear as glitches. In this PC preview demo, ES88 is tasked with diving into the memories of hybrid Crow, whose memories of a dodgy deal in the past could have implications for the future.
It’s an intriguing setup as ES88’s powers are used by the neurotechnology organisation MINERVA in exchange for her own identity. She’s ultimately tasked with tracking down a rogue Esper wreaking havoc through the mind’s of the city’s inhabitants, but how will that impact her own memories?
The demo we played is a short introduction to the game, but it already shows off the potential of the narrative. The pinks and purples of the pixel art add a fun futuristic edge to the otherwise retro graphics and the synth music is plenty atmospheric.
Fans of the previous game will recognise some returning faces, but for newcomers you can expect a diverse cast of characters in this imaginative cyberpunk world. Midboss are well known for their commitment to representation and inclusion, and the cyberpunk genre is primed for exploring issues of identity.
There’s no release date yet for Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, but it’s definitely a game to keep your eyes out for when it arrives on PC.