Genesis Noir review: Cosmic jazz

In a cosmic love triangle that ends with the bitter formation of the Big Bang, Feral Cat Den tasks us with upending the universe to save love.

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Making a point-and-click adventure centered around the concept of the big bang sounds unwieldy and a little pretentious. There’s a lot to handle in such a concept. However, Feral Cat Den took on the challenge with Genesis Noir: a game that humanizes elements of the Big Bang and gives shape to the origin of the cosmos as we know it with jazzy noir stylistics throughout. Genesis Noir doesn’t always find the right chord and the dance feels like it comes to end before you know it, but there’s still an intriguing rhythm and narrative here for point-and-click fans.

Jazz, watches, and jealousy

Genesis Noir starts out with the story of three cosmic beings: No Man, Miss Mass, and Golden Boy. The latter two are stylized as a musical duo while No Man is a watch peddler who gets caught up in an romantic affair with Miss Mass. Jealous, Golden Boy confronts Miss Mass and fires the bullet that unwittingly creates the universe as we know it: the Big Bang. With Miss Mass’s life in the direct line of fire, the time-bending No Man freezes the moment in perpetuity and goes on a journey of time, space, and theoretical physics to find the means to stop the Big Bang before it happens.

Genesis Noir has a dizzying story. The point is that No Man is seemingly an intangible being seemingly capable of appearing everywhere and no where in time and space at once. That leads us to take journeys that range from ancient times interacting with primitive hunters and their pursuit of a beast to future times joining forces with scientists to experiment with the wavelengths and energy with an electron supercollider. All of it builds towards collecting trinkets and knowledge to stop Golden Boy’s Big Bang from doing Miss Mass in for good. That central narrative serves well to tie down the various miscellaneous paths and keep purpose within sight even when things get ridiculously over-the-top or admittedly tangential. I feel like the stability of that core narrative seems to slip a bit near the end (it’s not a very long game at around four to five hours), but it finds its way to a conclusion and that conclusion seems reasonable for as zany as the story is throughout the game. Not to mention, all along the way you’re treated to a dazzling array of both abstract and cartoonish animation and music in tune with its noir aesthetic.

Puzzles take form among the stars and planets

As a point-and-click adventure, Genesis’s narrative plays out in a series of exploration and puzzles as you try to find the means to save Miss Mass. It’s not so simple as clicking around areas picking up items to use at key moments (although there is some of that). Much of Genesis Noir is an abstract scape of environments either out in the cosmic void or in places representative of that space. At one point you’ll track down a bassist and engage in a little Simon Says of music before going into some improv to light up the neon city. At another point you’ll help collect and assemble the ingredients for a Japanese tea ceremony. Genesis Noir is outright bombastic in its variety.

I generally found myself enjoying finding the solutions to what moves Genesis Noir’s story forward, but I will say some moments feel just a touch less inspired than others. There’s a couple long stretches of time where moving forward is pretty much as simple as scrolling through a scene until it comes to its conclusion. It’s strange when you put these moments alongside fairly creative interactions like planting a garden of seeds that absorb light or dark matter to open paths to your objective, especially when those scrolling moments feel like they run a bit long.

Point-and-click cosmic romance

Genesis Noir is a very curious game, and mostly in a good way. The cosmic nature of its narrative is tied down interestingly in its humanized elements and the animation and music do a good job of giving every moment life and charm, even if it can sometimes get confusing. It’s not a long game, and some of its stretches are a bit too simplistic for their own good, but Genesis Noir also features a lot of creativity in prominent portions of its puzzles and progression. If you enjoy a good point-and-click adventure and don’t mind a game that just wants a moment to share its bombastic narrative of cosmic creation and love, Genesis Noir might very well be narrative worth your time and interest.


This review is based on a Steam digital copy provided by the publisher. Genesis Noir is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

Review for
Genesis Noir
7
Pros
  • Core narrative is abstract, yet well-conveyed
  • Cartoonish, yet solidly artistic animation
  • Good jazzy soundtrack
  • Most puzzles are creative and enjoyable
Cons
  • Very short at around four to five hours
  • Some long sections of progression are too simple
  • Story gets a bit shaky near the end
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