Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best-loved visions of sci-fi dystopia in recent gaming. Bleak, brutal, but also occasionally beautiful, CDPR’s epic is a wonderful mix of style and substance. Combine that with Katana Zero, the ultra-neon, fast-paced platform game from 2019, and then add a dash of the pixel-art aesthetic that springs to mind when anyone mentions Dead Cells, and you get this, a brand-new platformer already boasting an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ Steam rating after thousands of user reviews.
This is Sanabi, a cyberpunk platform game and contender for the best sleeper hit of 2023. As a veteran mercenary, you’re dragged out of retirement for one last job, whereby you must ascend the vertiginous heights of a dense megacity controlled by corrupt corporations. You’re after a mysterious entity, the eponymous Sanabi, and, from the start at least, it all sounds very Blade Runner and Akira.
But there’s more to Sanabi than its influences and inspirations. Mechanics-wise, the principal gimmick is your character’s prosthetic, cyberpunk arm, which fires a grappling hook that you can use to swing between platforms, clamber up buildings, and destroy your foes. It’s smooth, intuitive, and stylish, and as you glide through the deserted metropolis, you enter a pseudo-zen state, similar to swinging across Manhattan in Insomniac’s Spider-Man.
The real surprises though are Sanabi’s story and drama. On the surface, this looks like a fairly innocent, action-driven cyberpunk platformer. Bright lights. Slick combat. The kind of music Ryan Gosling would have on his playlist in Drive. But keep playing, and Sanabi is hiding a gut punch of a narrative. I won’t spoil anything. But with over 6,000 user reviews, Sanabi has bagged the coveted ‘overwhelmingly positive’ rating on Steam. If you want to try it, Sanabi is available now.
Alternatively, check out the other best cyberpunk games, or maybe the very best story games available on PC.
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