Tales of the Neon Sea is a Kickstarter Adventure Game in Early Access for Steam. As of the present Chapters 1 and 2 are playable while the third and final chapter is currently in the final stages of development and QA. The game follows Rex Mist, ex-cop turned private investigator, and his unusually intelligent cat William (who does a lot of his own detective work) in Starlight City, a former shining example of progress, now figuratively and literally overshadowed by Sky City, a Utopia for the rich to live away from the common rabble and the robots. Together they try to do what they can in a society where humans and robots live side-by-side.
The city is a dark place, lit only by holograms, and neon signs.
Unrelated to The Tales Series.
Warning Spoilers Below.
As this is a detective mystery story there is a need for spoiler text when discussing this game.
Tales of the Neon Sea contains examples of:
- Broken Ace: Rex's skills, and past work as a police detective, are still respected by some members of the police force. But he's clearly not the man he used to be, though he can still solve a murder he stumbled on in an alley.
- Children Are Innocent: Averted with Lola, Robin, and Nanco. While not criminals, they're a product of the environment they're growing up in, the heavily gang-controlled Underbridge district.
- Subverted with Jenny, she murdered Mrs Perry in seeming cold blood, the real question is why did her robot butler dump the body out the window?
- Cyber Punk: Gritty future urban environments. Crime syndicates can grow large enough to claim near-sovereign status over parts of the city in all but name.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: The highest award for squad performance is the Donut Trophy, awarded to the best performing detective squad. Rex and his former squadmates lost the contest for one, but were awarded it when they proved the detectives who won the award were corrupt; taking bribes for letting criminals go free, padding their stats, and stealing donuts.
- The Future Is Noir: You're a burnt-out, half-robot, ex-cop with an infamous drinking problem, a nose for trouble, and a (cybernetic) eye for the smallest detail.
- Hard Boiled Detective: Rex Mist has seen a lot in his time; excluding flashbacks to Noa, there isn't anything that throws him off.
- Insistent Terminology: It only comes up a few times, but Rex is "half-robot" not a cyborg, the difference being that his prosthetics are emergency grafts taken from his former robot partner and include robotic source-code which humans aren't meant to have in their implants.
- Neon City: Most of the outdoor backdrops are breathtaking pixel art examples of this. Exceptions being the industrial side of Underbridge.
- Non-Human Sidekick: William, Rex's cat is usually around to help save his skin.
- Post Cyber Punk: Despite the grittiness things are looking up. Sentient Robots are granted their own rights and are viewed as responsible for their individual actions, interfering with the functioning of a sentient robot's mind is considered a serious offence. The crime syndicates play by a rather bureaucratic set of rules that ensures order is kept on their turf, and maintenance on publicly used facilities is conducted.
- Private Detective: Rex currently works as a private detective after burning-out on the Noa case. Prior to resigning from the the police department he was considered The Ace.
- Red Light District: Underbridge is known internationally for two things, its Miracle Street red-light district that outshines anywhere else, and being an almost independent sovereign district ruled by gangsters under "The King" with more power than the police.
- Robot Religion: Roverism is popular amongst robots and the working class, its a polytheistic pantheon with its own tarot for interpreting events.
- The God of Destiny Lark: Has his own form of Tarot cards that seem depict the same figure with slight variations, seems to be the leader of the pantheon.
- The God of Oath Smoff.
- The God of Fusion and Communication Pussen: His followers are believed to have engaged in human-robot combination experiments.
- Goddess of Mystery Ailanio
- unnamed God of Sleep: Is never named, seems to be one not spoken of lightly.
- Bson: Possibly a new addition to the pantheon, possibly its Satan figure. Bson isn't officially recognised by most mainstream Roverites and is heavily associated with the infamous serial killer Noa.
- Robot War / Turned Against Their Masters: Happened in the past between robots and humans. A peace treaty exists that expressly grants sentient robots citizenship, hardcodes into robots a restriction on violence against humans, and also forbids any human intervention or alteration to the code or brain of a robot recognised as sentient.
- Serial Killer: Noa, an infamous murderer was the last case Rex was pursuing before his accident during the raid on Noa's hideout. Even several years later, Rex is haunted by the case.
- Edward; unknown how many he's killed for Noa, but he was responsible at least for the corpse sculpture in Underbridge and the abductions of Underbridge robot citizens.
- Three Laws-Compliant: Sentient Robots are required to have a form of these hardcoded as part of the peace treaty. Emphasis is on the "sentient" part, non-sentient robots are treated as just hardware by humans and their sentient counterparts. This has a secondary effect of bumping the majority of robots into blue collar work and service jobs. Though it remains to be seen how much the robots working for the criminal syndicate follow that programming.