Asimov's First Law of Robotics states "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." And yet across the desk in front of you sits a robot convicted of murder. He's polite, succinct, and wholly upfront about his role in the crime. Now it's up to you to mete out justice as you see fit. So begins Electric Tortoise, a brief, moody art game by Dillon Rogers that wears its I, Robot and Blade Runner influences on its sleeve. Sci-fi fans will appreciate its reverence for the authors it imitates and the style and themes it evokes. It's just a shame the entire game is far shorter than most demos.
Gameplay is simple. You pick dialogue options on your screen, deciding whether to grill the robot before you or offer him a sympathetic ear as you analyze the story and decide his ultimate fate. Appreciate the game design while you interrogate him; your grey, bland, yet somehow gorgeously rendered bureaucrat's office is lifted straight out of Kafka's worst nightmare. The only downside? You can blast through multiple plays in a matter of minutes. There's no losing scenario and only a few eventual outcomes, but the minimalist storytelling and evocative Unity-powered art style gives it more resonance than it's meager run time suggests. As it stands, Electric Tortoise suggests great things to come from Rogers and Co. Here's hoping there will be more from the team in the future.