CAN ANDROIDS PRAY
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Alone on a vast world, a timely kill nearly seals the fate of two pilots caught in the crossfire. While the dragon’s claws cling to the victory in a sense, both pilots, on the same side, engage in a conversation of many paths. All this before the sun, on the planet of Earth, decides to illuminate onto a wasteland. Thus is Can Androids Pray.
The game’s look is not the most predominant feature and takes a backstage or stagehands appearance. It felt like Battletech in a sense, minus the planet waging war and the like. It’s more reminiscent to the 128 bit feels of yore. Nothing can be controlled outside of the cursor of text. While the darkness envelopes our protagonist and their accomplice and superior, Beatrice, the dialogue between them is an aftermath of a downed enemy. The two begin with 4 options per lines disputation. Your only movement is through the options.
I wasn’t sure of what I was expecting post the bible scripture lyrics in Can Androids Pray. Gaming has inadvertently traversed through the subject in the years. When Evo used Matthew 22:14 (“For many are called, yet few are chosen”) to describe the hill climb and who gets in and out: there were clips of the fisticuffs that occurred. When Xenogears dug into God’s existence and the Son of Man, it was accompanied by mecha blows and kung fu insanity. It seems mostly surrounding those few moments. Can Androids Pray goes into it, but with nothing to accompany it. No action. No suspense through visualisation. Just that and a few camera stationary tricks to simulate the dramatics and word tango. Panic, despair, hope, distrust, self-reflection, regret – all the ingredients of a dystopian game that goes about the topic of heaven’s door knocking.
My biggest gripe feels as if Can Androids Pray tries the Choose Your Own Adventure exploit, but fails on execution. There was no real feeling of choice past a couple of reactions that brought about the illusion of choice, per se. For instance, Beatrice, the chastising pilot you are stuck with, will comment on a decision of dialogue you made, yet still go about her business to discuss her original path of expression. Everything seems to be more aligned with her set mission to elaborate on the higher power during the mortality phase. I attempted more paths, and yet, the conclusions were the same. Each beat slightly different, but the ultimate fate was written from the very start. Can Androids Pray feels more akin to a rail shooter. One path until the bitter end.
Can Androids Pray seems to be a philosophical romp that undertakes the visual novel aspect of which seems to lack on the Nintendo Switch, or much in the way of notoriety. Many games go into the topic of creation, and God, but an open dialogue on an almost borderline of the door-to-door Jehovah’s Witness and near-death experience victim contemplating their life’s end, seems to be that of a different type. At the time of this review, a deadly virus was released into the world, reducing several countries into lockdowns. Can Androids Pray may be that very read one would be inclined to “cross bear”, at the time, but as a game: there are way too many things that could be done to hit the topic home in its form.
TBG Score: 6/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 16/04/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG
Developer: Apriori Digital
Publisher: Apriori Digital
Download link: eShop