Set in 2062, Encodya introduces us to Tina and Sam, a homeless child and her nanny robot, SAM-53. All children are assigned a nanny bot at birth with the year as their model. SAM must protect Tina at all costs. This is lucky for Tina, as Neo Berlin’s world is rough and not a good place for a child alone.
The game opens to Tina and SAM needing to find some basic supplies like food and shelter, but then they discover that SAM has a hidden piece of code and some people are eager to get their hands on it. Together, along with the helpful (and not so helpful) people and robots of Neo Berlin, they need to uncover the code and solve the mystery.
Encodya is your classic point and click. Search for items and clues and try to work out what they all mean. You can also combine items from your inventory and, in true point and click style, some of these combinations will induce groans and eye-rolls. I occasionally found myself combining an item with every other item out of sheer desperation. The other issue with this is some of the items were very difficult to see, especially if the hulking SAM-53 was standing on them.
Two difficulty settings attempt to alleviate this issue, but I found myself having problems finding items even on the easy setting. The easy difficulty enabled clues from SAM and highlighting of interactive items with the space bar. This never seemed to work reliably for me.
One big part of Encodya is that you can play as both Tina and SAM-53. Some robots will only talk to SAM, and some humans will only talk to Tina. This brings additional complexity to the game when solving puzzles.
Art and sound design
I love the art style in Encodya. It is pretty much the entire reason I played the demo and wanted to experience the rest of the game. The backgrounds and characters are detailed and a little melancholy, which is fitting for the drab dystopian world of Neo Berlin.
Encodya has full voice acting by awesome voice actors Lizzie Freeman and Richard Epcar as Tina and SAM-53. The soundtrack brings a fantastic ambience to the game with a cyberpunk feel and sombre tone.
I enjoyed the story in Encodya though some don’t like the political aspects of it. The dev has pushed back on this opinion saying Encodya doesn’t have politics, but I would disagree. The main storyline is centred around a corrupt mayor who will do anything for control and power over his people. There is quite a lot of commentary on his policies and characters regularly state their dislike for him, plus there’s an election around the corner. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just don’t think it’s correct to say there are no politics in this game.
It was interesting to see where the story would lead and who we would meet along the way. The story and art in the game are what kept me investing time into Encodya, as I regularly found the finicky point and click components frustrating.
As a novice point and click player, I seemed to need ‘super easy, show me all the hints’ mode! If you enjoy traditional point and click games, though, you will most likely have a great time with Encodya.