Eevi Rinasdottir is having the worst morning. Her head is throbbing from a night of drinking, she’s missing her left hand, and some mysterious yet oddly helpful entity has taken control of her cat. She’s not having a good time. I, on the other hand, am having a blast playing as Eevi in Born Punk’s Kickstarter demo.

Born Punk by Insert Disk 22 is a classic point-and-click adventure game with a twist, currently on Kickstarter. The campaign has two weeks left but has already more than doubled its initial goal of 14,000 Australian dollars (about $10,000). After playing the demo, it is easy to see why.

Born Cyberpunk

Born Punk takes place in the distant future of 2155 – a future governed by advanced technology, sprawling urban centers, and greedy corporations. It appears that this is not only a classic point-and-click adventure, but it’s also a classic cyberpunk tale.

You are Eevi Rinasdottir, a former corporate combat hacker, which I guess means she’s really good at both hacking and kicking ass. Her talents are currently being wasted as a bartender in a dive bar run by her foster father (he’s the barkeep with half a face you can see in the Kickstarter video above). But not for much longer.

As our story begins, it becomes clear that Eevi isn’t very happy with being a former hacker, with an emphasis on “former.” Our main objective in the demo is to get ready for a “data drill” – a freelance hack meant to extract enough critical data from random targets to finance her comeback. Unfortunately, she suffers from the mother of all hangovers, so we need to cure that. Slipping into spoiler territory here (though this part is plastered all over the Kickstarter page), the headache turns out to be a rogue AI infecting her brain implant.

Born Punk - The mother of all hangovers
That rogue AI hangover

We don’t get to interact much with the AI in the demo, but it does send us cryptic messages, including a set of coordinates. Sadly, the demo ends right after Eevi manages to leave her small apartment, way before we get to travel to said coordinates.

Classic Adventure with a Twist

You’d think that simply leaving a locked apartment isn’t a very exciting or difficult mission, but it proves to be quite a challenge. Moreover, it’s just the right amount of content to showcase Born Punk’s unique take on point-and-click adventures, without spoiling the final game.

Gameplay is familiar to anyone who ever played a classic adventure game – you point with your mouse cursor at what you wish to interact with, and click to perform an action. You can examine items, pick them up, and use them on the environment in an attempt to solve puzzles or just to rouse a reaction from the people around you. So far, so standard. But there are a few additions to the formula.

Born Punk - solve with force
If the door isn’t listening to reason…

First, our Eevi was a corporate combat hacker, which means she is fitted with all sorts of augmentations. Her left hand (the one she’s missing at the beginning of the demo) comes with a set of Wolverine-like claws she can use to brute force her way through puzzles. She can also use her neural implant to hack into electronic devices and bypass challenges that way. Or, she can study the environment, pay attention to clues and actually solve the problem she’s facing.

That’s the twist in Born Punk’s gameplay – you have multiple ways to solve some the puzzles you encounter. The way you do that can affect how the story goes, and how different characters will react to you in the future.

Every Click Has Consequences

In the demo, we need to open the apartment door, which seems to be having as bad of a day as Eevi’s. There are several ways to do that, one of them is to answer a security question. Answering the question is pretty easy if you poke around the apartment for clues, read some of the ridiculous amounts of lore the game shares with you, and talk to your cat (yes, your cat can talk in this demo, and serves as a sort of meowing tutorial).

Born Punk - Door puzzle
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Having answered the question correctly, I managed to open the door, and the demo ended. However, if you don’t solve the door’s “riddle” or get it wrong, the game doesn’t stop; you still have choices. I found out you can also claw your way through the door, or hack it and try to reprogram it. All these actions will have consequences later on. I’m not sure what these are, but I can guess that having a busted door isn’t very good for security.

It’s impossible for me not to think of Deus Ex when I encounter a cyberpunk game with many different ways to approach a situation. Naturally, I don’t expect the same level of freedom, but if Eevi can bust through a wall with her metallic claws while muttering “I didn’t ask for this” – I’ll be happy.

Born Punk is currently fully funded on Kickstarter, and if you enjoy cyberpunk games or point-and-click games (or both), why not help it reach one more stretch goal before the campaign ends on March 7.

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