Eliza is the newest game from indie developer Zachtronics. The team is famous for their programmatic puzzlers, but this one is a visual novel with an intriguing setup.
Zachtronics is a small team mostly known for putting out excellent programmatic puzzle games. Titles like Opus Magnum and Exapunks force players to spend copious amounts of time teasing out how to solve each puzzle the developer creates. Eliza, their latest title, is something completely different. This a visual novel about the dangers of using AI-based therapy. Watch the trailer below to get a better idea of the experience you’re in for.
Founder Zach Barth usually takes the lead for most Zachtronics’ games. Eliza is different in that writer and composer Matt Burns is heading up production. You play as Evelyn Ishino-Aubrey who serves as a proxy for the computer program Eliza. Throughout the course of the game, Evelyn gets to know the many people who use Eliza (some of whom are parts of her own past), and has to answer for herself if machine-based therapy really works.
It’s an intriguing premise that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else. I’m not usually one for visual novels; however, when they stand out, I’m quick to give them a try. Games like Butterfly Soup, the Danganronpa series, or the Zero Escape series are well worth your time even if it’s a genre you might not usually gravitate toward. Hopefully, Eliza can be much the same way. It certainly has a good enough indie studio behind it to be special. I’m also curious to see if Zachtronics continues to branch out from their usual puzzle games.
Eliza is out now on Linux, Mac, and PC.