Umurangi Generation Review – Cyberpunk Snap

In Te Reo (Māori), “umurangi” means red sky–a perpetual sight in this first-person photography game, and a sign of the climate anomaly plaguing the city of Tauranga Aotearoa. You’ll see this when raising your camera towards the flock of seagulls gathering at sunset, or a distant view of Mount Mauao amidst the billowing clouds of crimson and orange. Inspired by his personal experiences around the Australian bushfire crisis, Maori developer Naphtali Faulkner envisions a cyberpunk future that’s so much more than a neon-soaked dystopia. As a result, Umurangi Generation becomes a shining example of what cyberpunk media should be; it boldly confronts the themes that underpin the genre, from its condemnation of capitalism to rebuking the corporate structures that govern its cities.

Umurangi Generation makes its statements not through dialogue but by letting you explore its themes through the exploratory lens of photography–and its through this framing that the game’s message is made all the more resounding. Akin to a bystander, you don’t get to interact with the city’s inhabitants in Umurangi Generation; you just quietly observe and snap pictures of things you see in your environment.

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