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Dynopunk Review – A Real Hidden Gem

Dynopunk review

It’s hard to pigeonhole Dynopunk, a new game out now from Tomato Fantasy Games. It’s part visual novel, part sim, as you’re in control of running your own gadget repair shop. But narrative is very much key in this quirky tale, set in a world where dinosaurs never died out and humans don’t exist. Whatever genre you want to call it, one thing is for sure: Dynopunk is a delight, and it absolutely deserves more attention.

The tale revolves around Chris, the last remaining T-Rex on earth. He’s running his own gadget repair shop, and so by day he’s meeting clients, diagnosing and repairing their broken tech. Repairs are rather simple: you’ll be removing old parts and adding in new ones, cutting out new microchips and occasionally adding your own flair and decoration. It’s not exactly Workshop Simulator levels of depth, but you will be graded on your performance and it’s possible to mess up a repair. Being that Chris asks his clients to pay him based on how well he does, then, it’s not ideal to completely fluff a job because you won’t get paid. And making money in Dynopunk is key because, well, Chris is saving up to build a time machine.

That’s right: after learning that the previous owner of his repair shop tried to build a time machine, Chris is determined to follow in his footsteps. His goal? To go back in time and save his species. He no longer wants to be the last T-Rex on earth. And, more specifically, he wants to save his childhood sweetheart who died in an accident. Over the course of the game, you’ll experience Chris grappling with guilt over failing to save her. But was her accident really his fault? He’s certain it is, but maybe the choices you make for him can help him come to terms with his loss.

Dynopunk review

You see, there are plenty of dialogue choices to be made as you play through Dynopunk. Some simply concern Chris as he goes through his own thoughts, but others will be with customers coming in and out of the shop. You can forge friendships with a range of colourful characters, many dealing with their own dramas. There’s the bully who initially comes in and demands money from you, for example. Perhaps you can get through to him to make him see the error of his ways and get in touch with his softer side. Then there’s your childhood friend, Justin, who wants to quit his job on a whim to chase his sudden dream of being a writer. Do you encourage him to follow his heart or should you convince him to act more rationally?.

Each in-game day sees you chat to two or three characters, each usually also bringing you an item to fix. Your time will be split between engaging in conversation and repairing their gadgets. At the end of each day, Chris will return to his room and mull over the events of the day. You’ll also get the chance to buy items – either to decorate his room, to help build his time machine, or to enhance his shop – and check in on the time travel forum he’s part of.

Dynopunk review

There’s a fair bit to do in Dynopunk, then, but much of it is passive. You’ll of course spend a lot of your time simply reading dialogue, but it’s managed to keep us thoroughly engaged. Dynopunk’s world is quirky and interesting, unlike anything we’ve experienced before. And the characters introduced to us are all wonderfully imagined, leaving us keen to learn more about them. We haven’t cared so much about cartoon dinosaurs since we watched The Land Before Time in our childhood.

We feel like we’ve discovered a real hidden gem in Dynopunk. Part visual novel, part management sim, every facet of the game has kept us thoroughly engaged. Its pixel art style is wonderful, and accompanied by an eclectic and unique soundtrack, it’s hard to put down once you start playing. We really hope Dynopunk garners a bit of buzz, because it absolutely deserves it.

Dynopuk Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Dynopunk has been facilitated by a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.