Upon hearing the title of this game, I would hazard a guess that you have no clue what type of game Silicon Dreams actually is. Is it a cyberpunk game that sees you try to hack into people’s dreams? Or maybe a roguelite game, seeing as everyone seems to be releasing those? Nope, Silicon Dreams is actually a detective style game, which sees you play as an android, purpose-built to interrogate other androids and occasionally people, to get to the truth.
The game is focused around the androids that have been built by your standard, run of the mill, evil-ish company. They’ve built thousands upon thousands of these androids, each with different functions and utilities, but some are starting to become slightly too human for the company’s liking. Your task is to analyse each android that comes through in order to ask them questions that may indicate whether or not they’re defective. You’re given a fair bit of freedom to choose how you approach an interview, trying to hit topics that elicit feelings of trust, or maybe trying to intimidate them by strapping them to the chair? Maybe you don’t even want to hear their side of the story and you want to terrify them by lowering the machine to destroy them completely? The choice is absolutely yours, and as long as you’re able to retreive the information required, your company will love you. You’ll get treated to nicer bedrooms and offices, covert methods to change your interviewee’s mood and even some “good work” emails to boot.
There is a flip side to this though. Despite your programming, you are able to go against what your company wants and listen to the stories that the androids are telling you. Stories that are definitely not pleasant to hear, not for you, not for any android that exists in this universe. Your entire role is to essentially murder androids that are growing personalities beyond what they are coded for. An example would be one bot that should have his anger emotion capped to 50%, getting wound up and showcasing a full whack of anger directed towards you. Another might be an android that has decided enough is enough and wants to lead a rebellion on their creators. There’s a real spectrum of issues that you need to try to track down with these androids, and you’re able to choose the outcome by wiping memories or freeing potential problems.
This is the entire draw of Silicon Dreams. Finding out the truth from androids that do not want to let it slip is incredibly interesting and challenging. You’ll need to change tack at certain points in time to lure them into saying what you need to find out and trying to form some bond with them is really intriguing. It’s fairly difficult to get answers to all your questions at times too, because you need to be wary of asking certain things that might cause their mood to quickly shift, and you’ll find all your hard work gone in an instant. There are a lot of subjects that come through your interrogation room as well, each with their own personality and emotions, meaning you’ll need to learn how is best to interrogate each one individually.
I say that it’s the entire draw of Silicon Dreams, because there isn’t really that much else to the game. The graphics are fine, but not great, the soundtrack is a little boring and there seems to be very little point to having a room of your own given all you do is look at one email at the end of your work day and then go to sleep. These are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things, but they do take away part of the immersion and enjoyment of the game. I really didn’t see the point in returning to my “home” after work, given that it was a fairly lengthy loading screen to get there, then another one to get back to the office once I’d decided I didn’t want to hang around in the apartment anymore.
I quite enjoyed Silicon Dreams and it’s one of the very few games that I decided to play multiple times to see all the endings. That’s mostly because the first time around I was a bit crap at my job and showed a bit too much leniency to broken robots and got eliminated after about five interviews, but even after seeing a slightly better ending, I was still keen to go back and see the best ending. All the effort has been poured into the story and interactions with people and it really shows. The outside edges are pretty rough, but the core of the game is excellent and really worth playing.