Badda Bang Badda Boom
Once upon a time, the universe exploded, and that made life. Or, you know, started that process at least. I don't know the science behind the Big Bang that well. Thankfully, Genesis Noir is here to provide me with what is, I assume, the accurate version of the event. It's full of love triangles, jazz, and beautiful images. That seems accurate enough, and it made me want to give the game a shot.
The demo opens up with an explanation that it takes place before, during, and after the events of the Big Bang. You have to save your love, and the only way to do so is to stop the endless expansion of the universe. However, in the actual demo, you're mostly just hanging around and playing in a jazz duo. Not that there's anything wrong with this, as it does make for some rather classy sights and sounds. In the demo's 20 minutes run time I saw several moments that I'd already describe as some of the most artistically interesting of the year.
Getting used to playing Genesis Noir is a challenge. You play the entire thing with just the mouse, which makes movement a bit clunky at first. You move by holding the left mouse button on either side of the screen. Any time I see something interesting to inspect, everything comes to a halt so I can click on it. Before long, I just wished for keyboard controls. Eventually, I got used to it, but Genesis Noir feels designed with touch screens in mind.
As for the gameplay, the opening segments saw some very light puzzle solving between moments of checking out a cosmic city. The story starts with a pretty typical "adjust the radio waves so they match" puzzle, but Genesis Noir changed this up before I was over with it. I got to play Simon Says via a jazz duo, drive trains, and create an entirely new city by playing the saxophone real good. None of it was hard, but it all serves as a fun way to keep me connected to my character and keep the scenes moving.
While I may have seen a pretty limited chunk of the game here, the developer has also put up several bite-sized prologue on their website to further introduce you to the universe. These give a couple additional interactive bits of fun. One let me connect constellations so that I could play a song and earn some money busking, while another had me selecting stars so I could see some of the objects that populate the main game's world. There's also a short comic you can check out. All of this does an excellent job selling me on the new world contained within Genesis Noir.
Selling that universe is really where Genesis Noir excels. The world is beautiful, and I want to spend as much time as possible exploring it. It's at its best when presenting itself in comic book panels, extending and moving with your mouse movements. It reminds me of the way the original Gravity Rush's art had a depth to it when you moved the PlayStation Vita. Combined with a nice jazzy soundtrack, I'm instantly hooked by Genesis Noir. I want to see what else it can throw at me as I continue venturing into the unknown. This is one big bang worth keeping an eye on.
TechRaptor played Genesis Noir on PC using a preview build provided by the publisher. The game is launching on PC and Xbox One at a currently unannounced date.