by Sean Martin
previewed on PC
THE BIG BANG
What can I even say about Genesis Noir? As I usually do in the indie village I approached it because of the interesting aesthetic but was blown away by what I found. I suppose the best way I could describe it is as a music game... that’s set in a kind of jazz city... but also during the big bang... also it’s a detective noir. See what I mean? It’s a game that alludes description but that has such a playful and improvisational tone that it manages to pass off such an unusual combo so seamlessly. You play as the usual detective protagonist exploring the world, moving through it and progressing with a variety of point-and-click interactions. You explore different environments, meet a variety of interesting characters, all rendered in a gorgeous art style.
As mentioned earlier I think the thing that will immediately jump out to most gamers is the jazz age art deco style — it kind of feels like the entire game is supposed to be a musical dream sequence. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the musical dream sequences of Night in the Woods, in which players would have to solve a puzzle composed of musical elements to progress. Genesis Noir is somewhat similar, but rather than having specific musical elements, the music is a thread which runs throughout the game, coming to the forefront for certain interactions and receding into the background for others. This fits with the game’s discussion of the big bang and creation, as the musical thread seems to represent the current of life, ever shifting and running, but also crazy and transformative, an idea which ties in very strongly with the game’s improvisational jazz based style/tone.
In the demo I did a variety of things — controlling the typical trenchcoated and hatted noir protagonist I moved through a city, jumping onto a train, gazing into the windows of its inhabitants, then found a double-bass playing busker who I jammed with for awhile. The demo was linear, but defied explanation at times, but it felt like the game was going on a crazy ride and simply inviting me along.
Genesis Noir is a game which seems to favour style, and that’s no bad thing. I found it hard to care about narrative, or what anything really meant when each scene felt so fun and playful — a set of moments and interactions following on from each other which allows you to just experience the world. It was a really great play experience and fits perfectly with the game’s discussion of the big bang, the craziness of creation and the improvisational elements suggested in the music/jazz age stylings. There’s no release date yet, but head on over to Steam and you can grab yourself a demo and experience this beautiful craziness for yourself.