The last time we saw Genesis Noir, the newest adventure game from developers Feral Cat Den, it was beginning its Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. It was a promising title, albeit one with a highly unusual premise, and thankfully it ended up reaching its funding goal, hooking up with publishers Surprise Attack afterwards. Naturally, the plot about attempting to save a jazz singer from being killed by the start of the Big Bang through examining all of the time and space in between and all told within the trappings of a film noir tale generated a fair share of interest, and the early demo suggests a gleefully odd plot like that will have the great game it deserves in the end.
The demo started out fairly simple enough. Like a lot of noir tales, it involved our grizzled protagonist waking up depressed in their ramshackle apartment (seemingly inside of a clock tower, with a giant timepiece on the wall) and having to venture out to work on their next case. To start, we had to click around the apartment in order to locate the telephone and discover the phone number that we needed to call, in a standard graphic adventure puzzle that still worked nicely. But then, when dialing the number, each spin of the rotary phone cause the lines and scribbles making up our location to break apart and swirl around, quickly establishing that we were in for quite a trip.
This scene easily illustrated one of Genesis Noir’s greatest strengths: its unique monochrome art style. The utilization of almost chalk-like white lines on the black vastness of space creates a rather striking look that also naturally fits the noir theme rather perfectly. The rest of the demo was mostly linear, going through some eye-catching cutscenes that revealed bits of the plot while wandering on a path through the cosmos, but kept up with the impressive style and hinted at greater things to come, including a part where a single scene seemed to cycle through individual frames as we walked along and we had to pay attention to key parts of it.
It’s important to note that despite coming across as as a highly-intriguing adventure game that oozes style, Genesis Noir is still in its earliest stages of development. This was evident during the final puzzle, which had a notable bug that could make it so that players might not be able to view the solution to the final puzzle, which involved a combination of card suits. Oddly enough, though, I had triggered a bug that bypassed the puzzle altogether, going straight to the end of the demo. So things are still a bit rough at the moment, but all of the various pieces so far suggest that they’ll hopefully come together to create a fascinating game.
As you may have garnered from the previous paragraphs, Genesis Noir isn’t expected until a much later date — December of 2019 at the earliest — and thus we still don’t have a huge amount to work with in the terms of a playable product yet. Still, what we have seen so far is a visual treat that has the makings of a one-of-a-kind graphic adventure game, thanks to a surreal story and some impressive art and animation. Unlike with the actual Big Bang, the creation of this universe won’t accelerate quickly, but this cosmic journey looks like it may still be worth the wait.