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Videogame / Quadrilateral Cowboy

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When you have a top-of-the-line hacking deck armed with a 56.6k modem and a staggering 256k RAM, it means just one thing: you answer only to the highest bidder.
— The Steam description

Quadrilateral Cowboy is a 2016 first-person platforming/spy/hacking game developed by Blendo Games for PC, known for their previous works Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving. The main difference between those games and this one is that this one is much larger. and that it's a puzzle game. The main gameplay consists of utilizing the Deck- a high speed (for the setting) wireless interface to set up and use a variety of interesting Schizo Tech gadgets, like controllable turrets and walking drones to solve puzzles.

The story, much like Gravity and Loving, is told without dialogue, but the plot is much easier to piece together this time around. You play as a young woman in a poncho as part of a 3-woman team of hackers/spies, who are hired to do a variety of jobs like stealing bank vaults or gathering sensitive intel for your client.


Compare and contrast Uplink and Hacknet.

tropelist: list all tropes for this piece of media in alphabetical order.

  • All Your Powers Combined: Poncho gains Lou and Maisy's abilities for the final two missions.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: While the Vinylman seems like an absurd piece of Schizo Tech impracticality, a smaller-than-CD "pocket Discman" reminiscent of a handheld circular saw was actually manufactured by Sony.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Judging by photos in her teammate's apartments, Poncho's skin is very slightly darker than that of either of her friends, which may suggest one explanation for why she never uncovers her hair. The other explanation, of course, is that she's trying to hide cybernetic implants.
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  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Three missions in the game have you controlling Lou and Maisy instead of Poncho. Lou is more athletic and flexible than Poncho, and Maisy has a few special gadgets, but neither of them can use hacking abilities.
  • Anti-Hero: The protagonists are a team of mercenary-like hackers who steal things because they're paid to. With "things" sometimes being downloaded comatose human minds.
  • Art Shift: All photographs in the game are two-dimensional, hand-drawn and fairly realistic, in contrast with the blocky 3D models.
  • Auto Doc: Poncho uses one to upgrade her cybernetics for the last two missions.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Both Maisy and Poncho leave a guy sleeping in their apartments when they leave to go to work.
  • Black Market: Chu-Chu's Contractor's Warehouse, where the team gets most of their tech upgrades.
  • Book-Ends: The prologue and the epilogue both have Poncho chasing a train on a hoverbike.
  • Brains and Brawn: Maisy and Lou. The former seems to be much more into tech, and the latter is clearly much more into push-ups.
  • Brain Uploading: One of the jobs entails downloading brains from comatose patients.
  • The Caper: Every level is some kind of elaborate heist.
  • Cassette Futurism: For starters, Poncho hacks using a briefcase-sized (as well as concealed within a case) portable computer and DOS-esque command code.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Chu-Chu's Contractor's Warehouse has a number of weapons on display, including a bazooka and a sword. Later, Lou and Maisy use those weapons to fight off the killer robots.
  • Contortionist: Lou, and eventually Poncho, as a result of their bionic enhancements. This allows them to get through gaps that are three sizes too small for their heads alone.
  • Cool Airship: The crew upgrades to this after their old hideout is destroyed.
  • Cyborg: Greaser and Poncho become this in the final stretch of the game- Greaser gets clawboots, strong jumping legs and the ability to dislocate her bones to allow her to slide through any hole, while Poncho outfits herself with a minigun arm and a combat program. Poncho later upgrades to Greaser's tech.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place long after Poncho's two other comrades have died, with Poncho returning to her old home to retrieve a photo of them together.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The game ends with the crew completing their biggest heist ever, and laughing it all off. Judging by the photos in Poncho's house, she seems to have continued to be friends with them for years.
  • Everything Is Online: The Telenet program in the Deck allows you to hack, among other things, locked doors, lasers, and bridges.
  • Explosive Decompression: If you go outside in any of the space levels without the air tank, your head explodes after a few seconds with a cartoonish pop.
  • Fiery Coverup: After the attack on the first hideout, the team recovers all the essential equipment and burns the rest.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Maisy, who develops the door jam and the buzz saw after the team moves to the airship.
  • Game Within a Game: Inside Lou's apartment, you can find and play Airplane, an Interactive Fiction game created in-game by Lou and Maisy.
  • Hacker Cave: The hideout where the team plans their missions.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Generally averted. While it does have a few unrealistic things, like various objects being connected to Telnet for no clear reason, the actual programming aspect is portrayed fairly realistically.
  • Hover Bike: The gang has a few, which they use to board the train in the prologue.
  • I Call It "Vera": All tools in the game get a codename in the Epilogue.
  • Intellectual Animal: Mr. Chu-Chu, who runs the black market.
  • Mini-Game: You can play a game of badminton with Lou in-between story missions.
  • Minimalist Cast
  • Nerd Glasses: Enginami/Maisey has them.
  • No Name Given: The three women (along with almost everyone else) aren't named in the course of the story, though your teammates do get codenames in the latter half of the story. Their actual names can be found during the carpool missions and in the epilogue. The main character's Poncho, the redhead's Lou/Greaser, and the brunette in glasses is Maisey/Enginami.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: You're best advised to mute it and put on your own music unless you enjoy the same few low-fidelity renditions of "Auld Lang Syne" and "Clair de Lune" genuinely too old for any copyright term extension to grasp.
  • Programming Game
  • Robotic Reveal: The attack on the hideout shows that Poncho is partially machine, as her arm transforms into a minigun, Syndicate style to fight off the attacking robots.
  • Schizo Tech: It's essentially a cyberpunk universe with 80's-style software.
  • Space Elevator: The setting of the last level.
  • Speaking Simlish: Character dialogue is reminiscent of the 'muted trumpets' effect from Charlie Brown.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lou and Maisy. If either of them isn't working on something in the hideout, Lou will do exercises while Maisy will read a romance novel.
  • True Companions: The crew has been together since college, at the very least, and the epilogue shows that they remain close friends, even long after they quit the business.
  • Wham Shot: Two right in a row. The first is a group of armed robots bursting into your hideout after you complete a group of missions. The second is Poncho's arm transforming into a minigun, showing that she's a cyborg.


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