Gaming has never strayed far from science-fiction, and that’s for a good reason. The two have largely developed in parallel over the past 50 years, with new games and pieces of hardware pushing the limits of existing technology with each successive generation. Were you to take a PlayStation 5 back to 1980, it would resemble something closer to the technology depicted in the popular movie Tron, than the likes of a Commodore 64.
Furthermore, sci-fi, as well as its low-tech sibling fantasy, offers a huge treasure trove of storytelling opportunities, making for a medium that offers players true ‘choose your own adventure’ levels of freedom.
Now, with Bethesda Softworks, the legendary developer behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, actively working on a new open-world sci-fi RPG, Starfield, and the crowd-funded Star Citizen nearing completion – to date among the most expensive games ever produced – 2023 is looking set to be a golden year for sci-fi gaming.
But, one needn’t wait for these major releases to dive into the compelling thrills of high-tech and interstellar travel. There are many excellent sci-fi titles already available out there today. We’re going to take a look at two of the best of these below.
If your only interaction with the slots genre comes by way of classic brick-and-mortar fruit machines, you can be forgiven for not realizing that these titles, in their popular software variations, are fully fledged video games packed to the brim with creativity and innovation.
As is rote with slot gaming, you can find titles themed in a diverse array of genres, and there are several excellent sci-fi-themed games that are worth checking out. But without a doubt, the best in class are those that belong to the well-established Reactoonz series.
The latest, a spin-off of Reactoonz 2, Dr. Toonz builds on the formula established by its predecessor and carries the franchise into the next decade. All watched over by the titular mad scientist himself who can be found riding a UFO-like rodeo bull in the corner of the screen, this four-row, six-reel slot game is decked out with colorful, mysterious, and wacky symbols ranging from DNA helices to the familiar faces of the Reactoonz aliens.
If you’re looking for an entry point to modern digital slots, and are partial to sci-fi aesthetics, this should, without a doubt, be your first spaceport of call.
When Cyberpunk 2077 launched, it was arguably the most hyped-up game in industry history following 10 years of development and a record number of pre-orders. As such, even were its release to go off without a hitch, it’s hard to imagine how it could have succeeded in living up to these exaggerated expectations.
Unfortunately, mounting pressure from studio executives and poor planning coalesced to see the game launch before it was ready, causing widespread backlash from gamers, particularly those playing the game on older hardware.
That is where many assume the story of Cyberpunk 2077 ends, but the reality is quite different. Given greater time following the game’s release, developers CD Projekt Red have been eagerly seeking to right wrongs by pushing out a series of free updates focused on fixing bugs and improving in-game features.
The result is that today, almost exactly two years on from its launch, Cyberpunk is a wholly different, and much more impressive title than before. What’s more, following the unexpected success of the limited Netflix anime series Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, appeal and interest in the game are back to near pre-launch levels.
Few games in the modern era have seen such a revival in their fortunes, and now Cyberpunk enjoys around 1 million daily players, up from just 15,000 in mid-2021. That is a staggering 6,500% increase. Suffice it to say, years after Cyberpunk’s launch, it may finally be the sci-fi answer to Grand Theft Auto we’ve all been waiting for, and one of the top sci-fi titles to explore in 2023.