As a fan of the point and click genre, I was intrigued when I first saw Genesis Noir. Just one look at the game’s trailer and I could tell that the game was filled with style. The premise of a love triangle built around the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe was really interesting as well. I was a little leery about the gameplay as it is usually a little limited in these type of games, but I was still intrigued enough that I wanted to check out the game. Genesis Noir’s gameplay is kind of limited and the story is a little hard to follow at times, but the game is stuffed with style, great visuals and an interesting story.
In Genesis Noir you play as No Man. No Man is a watch salesman that falls in love with a jazz singer called Miss Mass. This relationship makes Golden Boy jealous leading to him trying to kill Miss Mass. This gunshot ends up starting The Big Bang. Trying to save the love of his life, No Man must search the ever expanding universe for a way to stop the death of Miss Mass.
I have played a lot of different video games, and I don’t know if I have ever played one quite like Genesis Noir before. The gameplay doesn’t fit neatly into one of the standard video game genres. If I had to classify it I would probably say that it feels like a combination of a point and click game mixed with a puzzle game. I wouldn’t really consider either a great comparison though. While the gameplay mostly revolves around clicking on things, exploring, and solving puzzles; none of these are really designed in a way that is similar to most games from the genres.
It really is kind of hard to explain the gameplay of Genesis Noir. Basically you walk around different locations until you come upon something that you can interact with. You then have to solve a sort of puzzle to progress the story. These aren’t your typical puzzles as they mostly revolve around moving your mouse around until you find the right movement pattern to proceed. There are a couple more traditional puzzles, but a lot of them involve rotating your mouse in a clockwise/counter-clockwise/back-and-forth direction, or hovering/clicking on certain things.
Ultimately the gameplay isn’t Genesis Noir’s best asset. The gameplay is not terrible, but I wouldn’t consider it to be particularly compelling either. Outside of a couple of the puzzles, there isn’t much to solve. You mostly just need to figure out the correct mouse movements in order to proceed. The gameplay relies considerably more on trial and error than actually figuring out what you are supposed to do. I honestly would consider Genesis Noir to be more of an interactive story than a traditional video game as the gameplay can be quite limited at times.
This is going to be the sticking point for a lot of people when it comes to whether they will enjoy Genesis Noir. If you are expecting deep gameplay filled with difficult puzzles, you are going to be left disappointed. In a lot of ways I would say that the gameplay reminds me quite a bit of the walking simulator genre. I would probably say that it has a little more gameplay, but I would say that it is pretty comparable. If you are looking for action packed gameplay or puzzles that will make you really think, the game is not going to be for you. Before playing the game you need to realize that your enjoyment will likely come more from the story and the overall atmosphere than the actual gameplay.
The good news is that the game really nails the atmosphere. Honestly the overall atmosphere is what initially intrigued me about the game. Simply put the game’s graphical style is fantastic. Elements of the game feel like they were designed in a fever dream, but you can’t deny that they look amazing. The game’s overall style is simply fantastic. There are inspirations of noir as well as other styles. In a lot of ways Genesis Noir feels like what you would get if you created an “artsy” game. This is all supplemented by the game’s soundtrack which is fantastic as well.
As for Genesis Noir’s story I had more mixed feelings. In theory I think the game’s premise is really interesting. Basically the story is built around a cosmic love triangle which ends up creating The Big Bang. I thought this was quite intriguing. As you explore a way to save Miss Mass, you basically get to see the expansion of the universe from the Big Bang to the end of the universe. As you move through the game you end up seeing the advancement of the human race. The game tells its story in a unique way and has some interesting ideas. I was surprised by how well the game weaves in little facts about The Big Bang as well.
The main problem that I had with the story is that it is not always clear what is going on at times. Basically the game’s story is not always particularly straightforward. I got the general gist of the story, but it is the type of game that doesn’t come right out and tell you what is going on. Elements of the story are kind of abstract requiring you to interpret them in your own way. In a way the story is “artsy”. This will really appeal to some people, but might turn off others as well.
Being a point and click game I can’t say that I expected Genesis Noir to be a particularly long game. I would say that the game has a decent length. The length will somewhat depend on how long it takes to figure out the puzzles and how much you explore the world. I ended up taking around five hours to beat the game. I explored looking for Easter Eggs and other secrets though so the game could be shorter if you just run from objective to objective. For the most part I would say that the game is pretty linear. There is a choice that you get to make at the end which changes the ending. Otherwise there doesn’t appear to be a way to actually change the game/story. Thus outside of wanting to experience the story again or choosing the other option at the end, there really isn’t a lot of replay value to the game.
Genesis Noir is the type of game that is going to have a very specific intended audience. The gameplay is pretty limited for the most part. Basically you click or interact with things on screen until you find the right action to progress the story. The gameplay is not terrible, but I wouldn’t really consider it a selling point for the game. Where the game excels is its atmosphere. The game’s atmosphere is simply fantastic. In a way playing through the game feels like an interactive art piece. The graphical style and music is trippy, but it crafts a fantastic world that you want to explore. The story is a little hit and miss. It is told in an interesting way and has good ideas, but at times it is a little hard to tell what is going on.
Ultimately your enjoyment of Genesis Noir is mostly going to come down to whether you are interested in the premise and love games that emphasize atmosphere over gameplay. If you mostly care about gameplay or don’t care for the premise, Genesis Noir likely won’t be for you. If the game’s style really intrigues you though and you don’t mind that the gameplay is a little limited, I think you will really enjoy Genesis Noir.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Feral Cat Den, and Fellow Traveller for the review copy of Unavowed used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.