I have always been a huge fan of all things TRON, to the point of several of my podcast pals making fun of my TRON obsession. So of course, when I saw Tron Identity show up in the Nintendo store, I went ahead and bought it, without exactly knowing what the game was about. After a bit of procrastination, I am ready to put down some thoughts on Tron Identity.
Tron Identity takes place in a Grid that has been ignored by Users since it was built. This lack of interference has created a Grid that is remarkably different from the ones that we have seen in the movies. It allows for us to see the Grid in a new and interesting way. The Grid society has grown with its own hierarchy and classes. I really liked the idea of a Grid that is unique and original. It also helps set up the narrative of Tron Identity.
The events of Tron Identity start with a bombing attack on The Repository, the main collection of knowledge in this Grid. The assailant has been caught, but has no memory of what happened. He does not even remember setting off the bomb. We play as Query, basically a detective, that has been brought in to find out exactly what happened with this bombing and why the suspect doesn’t remember anything.
You play through Tron Identity as a visual novel, making decisions along the way that effect the outcome of the story. Some of the decisions are pretty simple, like who you might want to talk to in an investigation, but others might decide the faction that you end up aligning with in the story. Using the visual novel style, allows for developer Bithell Games, to give us a compelling narrative that is very interesting. It plays up the relationships and detective angle, with several twists that make you want to see the end of your story with your choices.
In order to give you a little more to do along the way, Tron Identity offers up a weird puzzle mechanic that is required to unlock memory discs that you will find along the way. These puzzle games start off simple enough, but the difficulty ramps up very quickly. Several times, I found myself getting very frustrated with these puzzles. I liked the idea in theory to break up the game with some puzzle mechanics, but I am not exactly sure if this puzzle game was the best choice. It adds some confusing rules as the puzzles get more difficult. Also, they time you on how quickly you finish the puzzle, which can be real annoying if you get stuck on one, and the game decides to remind you how bad you were at that last puzzle.
The puzzle mechanic aside, Tron Identity is a quality narrative experience, that does add a fair amount of replay value with all the different choices you can make along the way. The puzzle elements might frustrate, but it is worth it to find through those, as you will be treated to one heck of a story based in the Tron extended universe.