In Astral Chain, players’ characters can get caught up in some pretty, well, inhuman activities. You’re going through dimensional portals to another place. You have strange beings leashed to you and under your control. Strange beings are corrupting people. But, with the Astral Chain Blue Case side quests, you get to be a little more human. While these optional excursions are a little less exciting, they are no less fun and can give your character a little more range as you see them help others in different ways.
Some of these cases let you have fun and exploit the system. One of the earliest is the File 3 “Quiz Kids” Blue Case. Five brothers are standing around. These NPCs are all identical. They pull the old “one person is telling the truth, and the others are lying” thing. That part is pretty simple, if you pay attention. Their second one is the one where you can cheat. Your goal is to pick out the eldest child. Except, if you turn Iris on and look at the kids, you’ll see their dates of birth and can easily figure out which one is the correct one. It’0s quick, but amusing.
There are also some fun Astral Chain Blue Cases that rely upon your Legions. Namely, the ones with the Beast Legion can be handled pretty well. Since it is essentially treated like a police dog from time to time, it acts as one for some of them. In File Six, for example, you help a woman get her lost cashchip back by having the Beast Legion track it in “A Valuable Lesson.” Eventually, these sorts of cases get more involved. For example, File Nine’s “Little Boy Lost” requires you to first find a missing child’s Lappy Doll, then use both the Axe and Beast Legions to track and reach the kid.
I suppose you could even consider the Lappy Balloon minigame a side case. When you are in Neuron HQ in File Eight, you can find Marie in the locker room. She’ll have a test build of the game she’s working on with Ted. You then have to give the right color balloons to the people in matching shirts. More and more people gradually appear, eventually running by at faster paces and in different patterns. Doling them out gives you points. It’s brief excursion that could get you a reward like an Ability Code. Also, if you get an S+ rank, you will complete the Lappy’s Helium Hullaballoo Unique Order and get a Pixelizer effect for your camera.
One of the absolute highlights is the File Six “We All Scream” side quest. A Clumsy Girl is hanging out in Harmony Square. (That is her actual label, I’m not insulting her.) She dropped her ice cream. Your goal is to go to Rastner’s Ice Cream Stand and get her another cone. Three options are available, with the largest costing you 3,000. The trick is, motion controls are in effect once you get the cone, you have to respect things like rules of the road, and there is a jerk pedestrian who will always run right down the stairs at you as you head up to the overpass where the girl is waiting. It is one of those fiendishly challenging quests that still ends up being super satisfying once you give it a chance. (A good tip is to have Iris on, so you can see the civilian running down the stairs as soon as possible, and to try and walk on the side he isn’t heading toward once he makes his descent.)
These kinds of side cases can make your avatar in Astral Chain feel a little more human. Which can be important, given how often they can feel like a superhero, due to them being able to control five different Legions. It is a grounding experience that recreates the concept of a futuristic police officer without seeming tedious.
Astral Chain is available for the Nintendo Switch.