Genesis Noir is the perfect example of a game that I could never see a huge developer taking a chance on. And after spending the last week diving into the theological game that makes you question the meaning of life, it’s clear why – it’s way too deep for those publishers. Thankfully, Fellow Traveller exists and their existence is highly appreciated for someone like me, always out to try something new, something existential, something with a powerful message. And with Feral Cat Den’s Genesis Noir, I feel like my search has yielded something special.
If you’ve ever asked yourself can video games be art? The answer is to look no further, as Genesis Noir is basically art brought to life. It’s exactly the type of game that needs to be preserved and something everyone needs to experience. If you’ve ever been in love, you’ll likely do anything for your partner. It’s unlikely that many of us will ever face the situation Genesis Noir presents, but the idea behind it is something we all do consider. How far would you go to save your loved one? What would you give up for them, for their happiness? Namely, would you sacrifice it all to bring them back?
This isn’t a lighthearted game and everything is delivered with an evocative and engaging style. It’s hard not to fall in love with the aesthetic and kept me inspired the entire eight hours I spent with Genesis Noir.
Genesis Noir is a Smooth, Cool Cat
You play as No Man, a watch peddler caught in a love triangle with other cosmic beings, Miss Mass and Golden Boy. No Man catches the eye of the Jazz singer Miss Mass, and quickly the two become an item, but soon after, Golden Boy decides to violently act out in jealously. One thing leads to another and your one and only is soon left to die. It is here the story truly begins and where No Man must search for a way to prevent Miss Mass’s demise. As time slows down, you’re left to travel to specific points in time in this case, the event becomes known as The Big Bang — and as No Man must learn to make sense of the situation, his place within the universe and how this event has changed him, in order to save his love.
So many individual pieces of Genesis Noir help sell the game: the music is wonderful, the animation is top-notch, the puzzles are well-thought-out and most importantly, it’s unlike anything you’ll play this year. There’s less game than some might want here, effectively this is a point-and-click adventure that plays more like a film from Pixar than anything else. If I could compare it to something tangible, the closest thing would be Grim Fandango, you’re able to move about while engaging in minigames and puzzles, then you move on and continue with the next batch while piecing together the narrative.
The only real downside here is that most puzzles are not necessarily challenging and oftentimes you’ll progress by planting a seed and moving on. I did enjoy the puzzles for the most part but sometimes you’re left with no idea what the game wants you to do.
And, for a game as gorgeous as Genesis Noir, things move at a pace that doesn’t give you much time to take in the landscapes. I can’t stress how beautiful this game is, looking at screenshots won’t do it justice, and even a Let’s Play might not be enough. I wholeheartedly think something of this calibre needs to be experienced for yourself, this is an indulgent experience from start to finish. For the amount of work the developers put in, it’s clearly a labour of love and it shows. Exploring 3D environments that use black and white colours with traditional hand-drawn animation is unlike anything you’ll see in the medium. The evocative nature of the noir genre is here in full force and the aura this game brings is surreal to experience.
A beautifully animated adventure across the cosmos
A lot of the moments you’ll unravel include familiar elements of our history. You plant seeds, wait for them to grow, or expedite the process by literally moving the stars forward to move things along. The further you go into our history; you uncover moments that introduce turning points in history revolving around The Big Bang. Each chapter presents a piece of the overall story and many of these are entertaining to witness.
For its entire runtime, the jazz-infused soundtracks push the narrative forward. Music plays a huge role in Genesis Noir and it’s infused with so much personality that delivers a magical experience paired perfectly with the way the game works. Listening to the smooth tons of jazz is often a soothing experience, often elevating the events occurring on-screen. Music helps explain what you’re seeing and even helps when working through a puzzle sequence. In some cases, the closer you are to solving a puzzle, the music hints at how close you are.
To put it into one short sentence, Genesis Noir is drenched in maximalism, deliver an over-the-top experience with stunning animation and a smooth soundtrack to flesh out the cosmic story. Even if there are moments things aren’t explained well, the game unfolds at a great pace that explains the Big Bang in a fresh way.
Genesis Noir is less a game and more an experience. By combining ideas from both gaming and film, Feral Cat Den creates something special that should be experienced by everyone. This is the perfect example of whether a game can be considered art thanks to the love the developers have imbued into the soul of Genesis Noir. This game might not be for everyone but it is certainly something that with some patience could very well be an experience you soon won’t forget.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: Switch