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Beyond a Steel Sky is an Adventure Game developed by Revolution Software and the sequel to 1994's Beneath a Steel Sky. It was released on June 26, 2020 on the Apple Arcade, with a Steam release on July 16, 2020.

The player continues as Robert Overmann/Robert Foster, though a small amount of time is spent from another character's perspective. The game begins with a child friend of Foster's being kidnapped by mysterious robots. His mission of finding his friend brings him back to Union City, which he finds to be a seemingly bustling metropolis. Evidence of his old friend Joey's work is everywhere, as seen by the pervasive attempts to honor his work in everyday culture.

References to other works of science fiction (and Monty Python) abound, but the game seems to draw most from Neuromancer (Cyberpunk), the Mad Max series (post-apocalyptic Australia), and Demolition Man (the utopian nerfworld.)

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This fine adventure game provides examples of:

  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Advertising is everywhere, and though it may not be immediately apparent, can change depending upon who is standing nearby.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Saviour Joey/Ken, particularly as he went off the rails based upon a simple instruction: to make the people happy. Contrast with the first game, where LINC was an actively malicious computer..
  • Air-Vent Passageway: At the Aspiration Gala, Foster has to crawl through a duct opening in the Control Room in order to follow some shady figures.
  • An Aesop: Luxury at any cost (particularly that of free will) is not a trade worth making. Living is More Than Surviving.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Jimmy the Thumbs literally collects thumbs, and wants to add Foster's to his collection.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: For a short time you play as the Joey board when Foster is kidnapped.
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  • Animal Motifs: In a probable reference to Blade Runner, what looks to be an origami unicorn is found on someone's desk. It turns out to be plastic explosive.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Areas open to the public (including homes) are spotless and well-maintained.
  • Awful Wedded Life: What the last few years for Graham and Songbird must have been.
  • Badass Longcoat: Just as with the first game, Foster uses one of these to conceal items.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Saviour Joey. Also Foster while Inside a Computer System.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Saviour Joey/Ken's directive to make people happy, taken from the last thing Foster said to him in Beneath a Steel Sky.
  • Big Bad: The Council, though it's ultimately averted, as Saviour Joey/Ken turns out to be The Man Behind the Man.
  • Big Damn Reunion: When Foster and Milo reunite.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The citizens of Union City are free, and the kidnapped children are rescued, but Leet, the Joey board, and Saviour Joey/Ken are dead, and the citizens of Union City now have to support themselves after having been dependent upon machines..
  • The Blank: Saviour Joey/Ken, whose entire body lacks discrete features other than limbs.
  • Bond, James Bond: Used often during introductions all over the game.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Unlike fingerprints in the first game, this game uses a Tracking Chip.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: Strangely, this seems to be less common now than the previous game. While it was possibly commonplace in the past to have implants, Foster is the only such human still around with a Schriebmann port. Leet had one, but later got rid of it.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Both Raquel and Poppy clearly have psychological problems after having been through some sort of mental conditioning.
  • Bread and Circuses: The citizens of Union City seemingly live in a utopia, but they are highly oppressed, and the government has some very dark secrets.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Foster's quest takes him to a museum where he stumbles upon an old friend (The Joey board.)
  • Bucket Helmet: Pixel wears a pot as a helmet.
  • But Now I Must Go: Foster doesn't stay to rebuild the city but returns to the Gap with Milo. Same as he did in the first game.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The Qdos system effectively serves as a substitute for money in Union City, representing how valuable and successful a citizen is. Instead of incentivizing good behavior, it makes everyone scheming and status obsessed.
  • Cargo Cult: In the past ten years, Joey has become known as Savior Joey and has developed a Cult devoted to his worship among the people.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: In order to get into the city, Foster needs an updated U-Chip. However, updates are only available in the city.
  • Cel Shading: The game adopts such style following the leap to 3D, in order to preserve the comic book-styled art direction.
  • Cheerful Child: Poppy. Leet even comments that her happiness is turned up to 11, no doubt after her conditioning.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Several items/techniques are part of the solution of multiple puzzles. This includes your crowbar, using Mini-Ks to lure gang-gang birds, or setting vending machines to play an alarm instead of dispensing drinks.
  • Computers Speak Binary: Inside MINOS, there is a path you have to fix where zeroes and ones are floating around.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Leet is one. Some of his theories are far out but his guess about the Minister of Aspiration being a reverse vampire is close to the truth.
  • Continuity Nod: Everywhere, but especially with some of the puzzles, which have solutions similar to those found in the first game.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Alonso is about to shoot Joey when Joey comes attacking from behind with his stun gun.
  • Crapsaccharine World: At first glance, Union City appears to be a citizen's utopia, but lives are ruined to make it happen, plus nobody has free will.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Foster carries a crowbar everywhere he goes. A Downplayed Trope as he only uses it for its intended purpose, i.e. forcibly opening things, never as a weapon. The only time he tries to use it to shoo away gang-gang birds, it doesn't work.
  • Cult: The worshipers of Savior Joey have created an entire religion around him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Joey board, who has a comment for nearly every encounter.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: By borrowing Graham Grundy's U-Chip, Foster essentially becomes Grundy. The systems notice a difference, but fail to put two and two together. More than one character inquires if Foster performed a Kill and Replace.
  • Dead Sidekick: What happens to both the Joey board and Saviour Joey/Ken, both derived from Foster's creation, and who both die at the end.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: Foster encounters a dust storm while crossing the gapland.
  • Delicious Distraction: The gang-gang birds guarding the body of Graham Grundy can be lured away with a piece of cake.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Saviour Joey dies in Foster's arms inside the MINOS simulation.
  • Digital Avatar: The LINCspace avatars from the first game are lifted wholesale, though rendered in much greater detail.
  • Disney Villain Death: Alonso falling to his death into a pile of soda cans.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Joey probing other devices at the museum is played like sexual intercourse. Joey even wants Foster to look away and concludes with Let Us Never Speak of This Again.
    • Union City's luxuries and wealth turn out to have been pillaged from Asio City which reminds players of colonialism.
  • The Dragon: Alonso, who reports somewhere in the hierarchy to Saviour Joey/Ken.
  • Dystopia: The dystopian setting combines traditional Cyberpunk themes (aping Blade Runner and Neuromancer) with elements from Australian movies such as Mad Max (being set in the outback) and other movies such as Demolition Man (a safe and clean society built hiding dark secrets) and even The Fifth Element (overcrowding)
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: People freak out at the museum when a rat shows up.
  • E = MC Hammer: Leet has whiteboards filled with scientific formulas in his lair. Foster remarks that there is an error in one of the formulas which just shows how much of a genius he is himself.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Joey's computer voice goes wobbly when he dies inside MINOS.
  • Elevator Escape: In the finale, Foster escapes Saviour Joey via the elevator.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: A stalker vehicle is rising behind Foster when he talks to Orana above the Aspiration Gala.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: In the public areas, which have the overly clean gleam of consumer electronics. The industrial areas still have the Used Future aesthetic from the first game.
  • Exact Words: The overriding theme of the game is explored in how Saviour Joey/Ken interpreted his instructions (make the people happy), to mean that this directive should be executed at any cost.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: As with the first game, the game itself takes place within a 24-hour period. The prologue took place two days ago, still a relatively short period of time.
  • Eye Am Watching You: The guard at the museum's old history area makes this gesture towards Foster who he deems a troublemaker. And rightly so.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Ken/Joey is transformed into the despot of a Crapsaccharine World where he is worshiped as a god and Happiness Is Mandatory. He states this is due to Foster giving him the command to make everyone happy.
  • False Friend: Jimmy the Thumbs, who both acts friend and pretends to be Leet, in order to steal Foster's body parts.
  • Fantastic Noir: Foster uses Film Noir-style narration to describe events, his intentions, or even communicating things that he should or shouldn't do.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Alonso acts friendly and extremely polite, but his behavior and tone make clear that he is dangerous.
  • Fetch Quest: Jimmy promises information in return for you fetching his moonshine.
  • Fictional Currency: The Qdos ("Kudos") system that rewards good deeds, aspirationalism, and happiness in general. It's not like money in the eyes of the citizens but effectively serves the exact same purpose with status as well as a class system emerging.
  • Fictional Greetings and Farewells: "Keep a smile on your face". Mostly used by robots and government officials.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Mentioned throughout the game. Mini-Ks are an exception, which are said to contain some real meat.
  • Future Imperfect: The museum exhibition about the gaplands. Goats are assumed to be vicious predators.
  • Gargle Blaster: Leet's (actually, Jimmy the Thumbs') moonshine is described as an intense, practically undrinkable, concoction.
  • Genre Shift: For the most part, this game moves away from slapstick humor to sarcasm and parody. It also moves from being a Cyberpunk Dystopia (albeit a humorous satirical one) to being a Post-Cyberpunk Techno Dystopia.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: This is the result of a treatment in the Reflection Spa. In this, unhappy memories of the subject is replaced with happy ones.
  • Good Behavior Points: Each citizen's social status is determined by their Qdos level, which is gained by conformist behavior. The higher your Qdos score is, the more services and luxury you have access to.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: You take care of Jimmy by hitting him over his head with an empty bottle.
  • Groin Attack: Leet's security robot has its taser arm at groin level.
  • Hacker Cave: Leet's lair is hidden in the industrial level and has a lot of old computers. Most importantly, he has a LINC chair which can be used to access LINCspace.
  • Hacking Minigame: Foster has a hacked scanner which can be used to alter the functionality of several machines, even exchange functions between nearby ones. Many times it's an essential tool for solving puzzles, other times it can be used for the fun of it to change some minor things in the environment.
  • Happiness in Mind Control: Unhappy (or uncooperative) people are forced into more positive outlooks after being taken to the Reflection Center.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: If you're not happy (or at least pretending to be), you can lose your standing in society. Taken to an extreme, you may be taken for reconditioning.
  • The Heavy: Minister Alonso is the primary antagonist for much of the game despite being little more than an Obstructive Bureaucrat. Until he attempts to murder Robert.
  • Heel Realization: After Foster carefully shows Saviour Joey/Ken how the five well-intentioned ministries restrict freedom and equality.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: If you listen carefully to Greta when she addresses Foster as Graham Grundy, there is a small pause before she utters first and last name which seems like an homage to this trope by the creators. Even at the time the game was made, text-to-speech systems have progressed well beyond the need for this. However, it was likely done to be deliberately disconcerting.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Joey sacrifices himself to allow Wendel's truck to safely exit the city.
  • Hologram: The Greta AI, MINOS terminals, advertisements, the fireworks, and the council are all holographic projections. Even normal household objects (such as a bonsai tree) are represented in this manner.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: Alonso administers one to Foster, who is posing as Grundy. On the surface, it seems similar to a follow-up from a social services officer, but the underlying intentions are more sinister.
  • Inside a Computer System: The game carries on the LINCspace vision from the previous game, and layers a MINOS administration user interface on top for newer functions.
  • Internal Retcon: Citizens get their problematic memories "fixed" at the Reflection Center.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Union City has a robot for almost every kind of task.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Someone has been taking children from the Gap.
  • Ironic Name: The names of the five ministries, such as the Ministry of Wellbeing, an allusion to 1984. On the surface, Wellbeing is concerned with just that, but it's actually a security agency.
  • Layered Metropolis: Just like in the previous game, the higher your social status is, the lower you can get in the city. Unlike in the previous game, however, the industry at the top level is mostly run by robots and the only people you can find there are fugitives and outcasts.
  • Large Ham: Reginald Arthur Schnipple, the posh and flamboyant poet.
  • Leet Lingo:
    • One of the human characters is actually named "Leet", which though derived from his real name Elliot, is also a reference to his profession.
    • Most of the robot names are this, with a dash of Fun with Acronyms. The MINOS computer network also uses a fair bit of such names. Special mention goes to peoples' social standing being measured by a Qdos score, which is pronounced identically to "kudos".
  • Logic Bomb: Foster destroys the council members by pointing out the contradictions in what they do.
  • Machine Worship:Saviorr Joey/Ken is regarded almost as a god, to the point of "Joey" being used in place of "God" in some phrases.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Savior Joey/Ken is the person responsible for Union City's transformation from a decaying gritty cyberpunk dystopia to the Techno Dystopia where everyone is happy...or else. He operates from behind a bunch of fake Councilmembers who are theoretically democratically elected.
  • Meaningful Name: Almost all of the droids have names with some sort of meaning. For example, a butler droid is named "Chipsworth" (similar to Wadsworth) and a security droid is named 2CU (ie. "to see you.")
  • Meaningful Rename: Spoofed. After being transferred into the stun robot, Joey wants to be called "Joey Prime". Foster is having nothing of this idea.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: Cleaning-bot Joey remarks at one point that "spotless" is his middle name.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The relatively minor crime of kidnapping children reveals the whole facade of the council and society.
  • Motive Rant: Before attempting to shoot Foster, Alonso delivers a spiel about how the city successfully provides for its citizen. Foster reminds him at what costs this achievement comes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Saviour Joey/Ken is confronted with and convinced of the consequences of his control measures, he expresses deep remorse.
  • Neon City: The public areas of the city are immaculately styled, but with neon and pastel accents.
  • Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer: Robot Joey doesn't straight up tell Foster that he found Milo in the Reflection Center room 5. Rather he commands Foster to follow him because there is "something he has to see".
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The Old History Exhibit in the museum contains props from the first game, along with original screenshots shown by the guide robot.
    • The first part of LINCspace looks exactly the same as in the first game, with the same objects and similar gameplay. Even the music is recycled from the old game.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Orana and Foster work well together but there is no romance developing.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several, but chiefly when Foster realizes that the council is just a front for his old friend, Saviour Joey/Ken.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: When Greta performs an operation on Foster's U-Chip, Greta glitches briefly, and loses the last few seconds of her memory.
  • Our Founder: Saviour Joey is being praised as the one freeing the city from the tyranny of LINC, and creating the current city as is. He has a museum dedicated to him, and a statue outside the museum.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: The game ends with a pan up to the sky over the gapland.
  • Percussive Maintenance: How Foster fixes the bridge, as well as using when opening the truck.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Power cells for industrial robots and trucks are interchangeable. Also, Foster can easily swap code snippets between devices to change their functionality.
  • Point That Somewhere Else: After Foster transfers Joey into the stun robot, he asks him to wield his new weapon carefully.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Subverted. While the original game was heavily based on Cyberpunk, Saviour Joey's restructuring since then has led to a more positive outlook of technology's impact on society. On the surface anyway.
  • The Precarious Ledge: At one point Raquel is painting a graffiti on a ledge near Graham's apartment. For some reason she suddenly forgets how she got there and panics.
  • Put on a Bus: Everyone says this is what happened to Joey in that he walked into the desert five years ago. Saviour Joey/Ken simply chose to create a fictional city council to increase human acceptance.
  • Racial Face Blindness: Played with, when the droid 1CU expresses indignation at being mistaken for identical-looking robot 2CU.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Orana is this, especially compared to the Affably Evil Alonso. It turns out that she is working with Grundy to undermine the system.
  • Retcon: The crucial last directive to Joey/Ken never actually happened onscreen in the original version of the first game, though its Remastered version for iOS was given an extended ending.
  • Robot Buddy: The Joey board, which Foster built as a child as his companion, and provided frequent help in the first game. They were separated for ten years, and the story reunites them for a day.
  • Robot Butler: Chipworth takes care of all domestic activities in the Grundy household.
  • Robot Names: Almost every robot, except for Joey (both of them), Chipsworth, and Tarquin (a Monty Python reference), has a name of the numerical/hyphen variety. Even then, the names are often Leet Lingo references to their function.
  • Robo Romance: The Joey board makes clear his infatuation with Greta. Her model appears to be attractive by human standards as well.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The Central Theme of the video game. Should scientific progress and the decisions made by a central council pave the way to human happiness (enlightenment) or does too much conformity and discipline only lead to Dystopia (romanticism)?
  • Running Gag:
    • As with the first game, the fact that Joey inhabits multiple shells.
    • Various characters refer to Foster's bag as a purse, to which he always responds, "It's not a purse. It's a satchel."
  • Scavenger World: People in the gap live mostly in tribal conditions, using pieces of technology build out of junk scavenged from the city. Ember specializes in collecting various parts and "hacking" them, which is how you can get into the city in the first place.
  • Scenery Porn: The game is gorgeous, particularly in 4K on a computer.
  • No Sense of Time: Union City is unrecognizably transformed in just one decade.
  • Servant Race: Every robot in the game, save potentially Saviour Joey/Ken, lives a life of servitude.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The stun robot at the recycling center is a reference to the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, quoting the movie almost verbatim.
    • The Ministry of Plenty is one of the ministries in 1984.
  • Skyscraper City: The city's obsession with the vertical even extends to social status.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: Saviour Joey falls over backward in slow motion when he dies in front of the Obermann chair.
  • Stepford Smiler: This is the natural consequence of the Happiness Is Mandatory doctrine. Most prominent example in the game is Songbird, who pretends to be happy with her husband Graham so she can keep her Qdos points for having a family, despite the two's relationship going downhill in recent years.
  • Techno Dystopia: Everyone is dependent on robots, is constantly watched, and their lives are utterly under the control of a oppressive nanny state. It looks very bright and shiny, though.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: This society seems to be somewhere between the first game and WALL•E in that every normal citizen is completely dependent upon robots (and ultimately Saviour Joey/Ken for every need. Even when is a human is required (such as in sanitation), it is ultimately a robot doing the work.
  • Thieving Magpie: Early on, a gang-gang bird steals Ember's device which Foster has to recover.
  • Towers of Hanoi: One puzzle inside MINOS consists of you having to move program blocks of different sizes from one place to another. You can only place a smaller block on top of a larger one.
  • Tracking Chip: Every citizen of Union City has a U-Chip, and visitors are required to obtain one at the city gates. Even the toys can be tracked.
  • Tracking Device: Songbird's toys have them which helps you to locate Leet.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Leet likes to do this, especially with "Schrrriebmann port".
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Grundy (the real one), who was very out of shape, and Songbird.
  • Undercover as Lovers: When Foster assumes Graham Grundy's identity, he and Grundy's wife (Songbird) must play along.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The "Reflection Center" where your memories get "fixed".
  • Unwanted False Faith: Joey has no particular desire to make the citizens of Union worship him but they do so anyway.
  • Unwitting Test Subject: The children from the Gap are kidnapped and used in experiments.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Alonso and Saviour Joey/Ken under the guise of the council use this argument to explain why their crimes are for the better good.
  • Video Wills: After Leet's death, Foster finds a recorded message of his avatar inside MINOS.
  • Vocal Dissonance: If you switch the personalities used for the museum exhibits, the mismatch between the personality and the content can become rather amusing. For example, using the aggressive voice with the children's exhibit comes off as sounding like authoritarian propaganda, which isn't far from the truth.
  • Walls of Tyranny: The city walls, putatively designed to keep trouble (and dust storms) out, actually act as a prison.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Saviour Joey/Ken was just doing what he was told, just like any computer would do.
  • Wham Line: When Saviour Joey/Ken reveals that the reason for the city's current state is a directive from Foster himself.
  • What Year Is This?: Robot Joey's first words after Foster revived him at the museum.
  • Wicked Cultured: Alonso is suave, friendly, and incredibly dangerous.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Orana's reaction when she encounters Foster above the Aspiration Gala.

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