Aiden Cobb's eighteenth birthday started with him going under the wall, to where the Digits lived. His quest was to find something called a Cyron 3000. His best friend Joel told him he could get insulin for it, for his grandma. Medicine was hard to come by in the forgotten zones, and there was no way he was going to return without it.
My Opinion: 270 pages , $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are a lot of confusing concepts running through this story. It also has a really slow confusing start. It’d say skip to the 6% mark if you want to try this story out, everything before that is very unclear and confusing.
The beginning is setup as a dystopian earth where people are divided into two groups, one with all the resources and tech (Digits), and the other who live in the wild and do what they can to survive. Aiden, the main character (MC), breaks into the Digits area and steals tech he plans to sell to get medicine for his grandma. The first time the MC logs into the ‘game’ he just does some light exploring and fights. It’s confusing.
About the 20% mark, the story shifts to one about an evil corporation that is trying to take over the galaxy. The MC discovers the tech he stole, conveniently, allows him to log into a remote exploration system that’s setup like a game. This system sends advanced 3D printers out beyond our solar system then transmits the minds of players to control a robot like machine that is to be used to catalog new resources, alien tech, new biology, and anything else the corporation can use to further it’s agenda.
Then about the 40% mark, the story shifts again, to a science fiction fantasy thing, where the MC, in this robotic avatar, is trying to help this medieval society free themselves from the rule of the evil king and his sorcerers. The sorcerer's just happen to be other players using their own robotic avatars.
The game mechanics in the story are also another thing that’s a bit confusing. I don’t mind the mechanics, but it feels out of place for this sci-fi fantasy story setup. The RPG mechanics in the story: These 3D printer robots are sent to an unexplored world. They start out as these level 1 robots that are only 4 inches tall. As they scan new plant and animal life, accomplish research, defeat aggressive species, or learn about alien tech or societies, they get XP. This XP is converted to credits that can be used to print out anything back on earth or where the 3D printer robot is. As the machine gets more XP it’s abilities expand. It levels up and can grow to the size of a normal human. It can get even larger and can make more complex things later. Additionally, as the avatar explores it unlocks special abilities like Environmental Skill, Communication skill, or Alien Customs skill which can be improved (level 1 to level 2, etc) and confer bonuses.
As a concept, I’d say this story is neat. Using 3D printers to build remote controlled robots that people can use like full immersion game. Neat. That these robots can be used to explore the universe? Also neat. But when the story shifts to a fantasy concept it loses me. I mean, why can’t this super powerful and advanced corporation just take over this whole planet if it has the tech to make anything it wants with these 3D printer robots? Why would they need to have their players use swords or transform into dragons?
I liked a small section of this story a lot. From 19-33% it’s a really neat sci-fi litRPG where game mechanics are used to incentivise exploration. But the rest of the novel either doesn’t make sense according the tech given or is just confusing in other ways. It’s decent action adventure, but I think the story missed a great opportunity to be really good.
Score: 6 out of 10