Genesis Noir review

Genesis Noir isn’t like many other games. It presents a unique view on the big bang, time travel as well as love and mystery, all wrapped up in detective-noir form. This indie game constantly offers up unique gameplay mechanics and will take you on a rollercoaster of discovery, all the while looking very stylish too.

In Genesis Noir you play as No Man, selling watches on a street corner. No Man then walks in on his lover, about to be shot by a mystery person. However, the gunshot slows down and as the bullet races towards your lovers head, all of space and time present themselves in this similarly explosive moment. Before the bullet reaches your lover, it’s your job to solve the mysteries of the universe, trying to understand the events that led to this moment.

No Man is also caught up in a love triangle with Jazz Singer Miss Mass and the jealous shooter Golden Boy. Once you burst in and experience the mini big bang, time stands relatively still and it’s down to you to solve a series of puzzles intermingled with fantastic animation and jazz music.

The puzzles in the game are fairly light, although I did get caught up early on in the seeding puzzle. The game doesn’t really explain what you have to do, or how you have to do it. I have a feeling this may be a better experience on PC, and I was exploring around with the controller on Xbox and it didn’t feel very intuitive at all. That aside, the puzzles do flow and there’s invention and fantastic animation all the way through. One minute you’re planting dark seeds that destroy dark matter, the next you’re rotating the sun and the moon to make plants grow at super speed.

The slight frustrations of being caught in an area quickly melt away when you are presented with these type of visuals. Line drawing, often black on white with a little dusting old gold thrown in for good measure. The game can felt like a psychedelic dream at some moments, for example, the dream sequence from Dumbo or the boat ride in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version). I like this experimental nature to gameplay and storytelling, it’s one of the reasons why I love indie games so much… the variety and experiments are very refreshing.

The jazz and the animation go together really well. The flow of the saxophone or the piano mixed with the fluid and strange animation is a feast for the eyes. Sometimes the puzzles do have a habit of interrupting the flow of the game, which is a shame. Jazz and experimental animation and gameplay seem to go really well together, thinking back to Ape Out of 2019.

Genesis Noir starts off great, but as you make your way through the game is does slow down a little bit and then finishes off quite suddenly. Overall it’s a fun experience, has some really nice experimental gameplay and it definitely should be played to be experienced. It’s another one available on Xbox Game Pass, and also on other platforms too. It’s one of those games I’m happy is on Game Pass because many more people will get to experience it.

It’s a game that tackles big subject matter like space, time and an interconnecting world made of matter wrapped up in a noir mystery love triangle. It’s unique, interesting and epitomises the reasons why I love indie games and the gameplay experiences they can offer up. Genesis Noir isn’t going to be for everyone’s taste, it can be slow, it’s not immediately obvious what you have to do all the time, but if you’re game for an experimental ride into space and time, then it’s worth picking up and enjoying what it has to offer.

Developer: Feral Cat Den
Platform: Windows, Mac, Xbox
Release Date: 26th March 2021