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Subways are rich fictional landscapes. They’re an accessible and liberating system that’s also regimented and claustrophobic, their underground stations mundane during rush hour and eerie at midnight. That’s part of what attracted me to Subsurface Circular, a text adventure by Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell. It’s also what makes me wish that Subsurface Circular — a well-crafted little game that plays out like a short story — were so much deeper.

Subsurface Circular is set on an underground transit system for service robots in a future city. It’s a shortform mystery designed to be played over a couple of hours, as the protagonist, a robotic detective, attempts to solve the disappearance of a fellow passenger’s friend. Commuters…

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