Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Games in the noir style usually talk about a gloomy protagonist with a deep voice, villains in hats and coats and femme fatales who bother him, and a saxophone always sounds in the background. In Genesis Noir, almost all of this is in place, but served with an unusual (and even unique) sauce.

Not what it seems

At first, everything seems simple and understandable: a watch dealer is drawn into a love triangle – he ends up in an apartment where a man is about to shoot a defenseless woman and kill her. Time stops and the main character tries to figure out how to save the day. From this point on, Genesis Noir ceases to pretend to be a “normal” game and draws parallels between what happened and the Big Bang.

Each chapter begins with a text preface, which roughly explains why the character will be doing certain things in the next 10-15 minutes. In the first episode, we plant seeds to remove barriers of different colors and build bridges. And before that, the player will read a brief note about the Big Bang, which began from a red-hot sphere – due to energy fluctuations, its surface became like soil, and energy deviations are compared with seeds from which stars and galaxies appeared.

An example of one of the mechanics.

There are terms here that do not mean anything to the layman (“hydrophilic lipids”, “protoplanetary disks”), but they do not interfere with the understanding of what is happening. At the same time, the actions of the hero actually acquire at least some sense – if we are talking about the primary ocean, then get ready to dive into the water, and electrons and protons literally “merge into a single harmony.” Without explanations, it would be difficult to understand what is happening, so it is not recommended to skip them.

Over time, you begin to better understand what the developers wanted to say, and Genesis Noir seems less and less a set of abstract symbols and endless allegories. It is very unusual to see a combination of an original view of the universe and a noir atmosphere that persists until the finale. Colors rarely appear in the color palette other than shades of black and white, the jazz soundtrack is a real treat for the ears, and in the gloomy streets of the city (when you return to it) you can easily recognize America in the middle of the 20th century.

Genesis Noir: Review

At times, the game looks luxurious, especially when the environment is reflected in puddles or bodies of water.

Flaws of the Universe

During the passage, I constantly recalled the film “The Tree of Life”, where the theme of the universe was also raised (but without noir and shots), and scenes with actors were suddenly replaced by frames depicting cosmic bodies or some kind of effects. In Genesis Noir, too, you never know what’s coming next, and that keeps you close to the screen. However, if director Terrence Malick has been nurturing the idea of ​​his picture for more than 30 years, thanks to which there is not a single extra scene, then there is a sense of procrastination here – then you need to go too far, then riddles of the same type follow each other. To cut the duration to three hours instead of four – and it will be just right.

But even in its current form, the game does not get bored – the history of the universe is surprisingly diverse in terms of gameplay. Genesis Noir is a difficult genre to define – it’s a point ‘n’ click adventure that’s hard to find analogues due to the ever-changing environment. There is no inventory, you almost don’t have to combine objects – most often you either swipe the cursor over them to achieve an effect, or grab them and pull them somewhere. Because of this, the control on the gamepad is not ideal – it is better to use the mouse. Some objects can be interacted with to read their descriptions, but most play no role and serve as decorations.

Genesis Noir: Review

Noir winter – why not?

The narration takes place without words (except for the descriptions at the beginning of the chapters), so you need to solve the puzzles on your own. Sometimes the game gives hints with the help of balls hanging above the ground or in some other way, but almost always the course of action is approximately the same: if something new appears on the screen (especially painted in a rare gold color), you need to try to click on it. You go through many episodes on the machine without thinking – there are a couple of difficult episodes, but everything else is even disappointing with ease.

I had difficulties in several moments, but they are connected with bugs, which I caught a lot. In one episode, the right menu didn’t open, in the second, the dots didn’t connect because one of them drove too far, in the third, the story video didn’t start – there were five such situations in total. Each time I had to go to the main menu and start the chapter from the very beginning, since there are no saves in the middle of the episodes.

Genesis Noir: Review

In dynamics, such moments look even more stylish.

The rest of the game is a lot of fun, especially in the finale, when everything finally makes sense. Genesis Noir stays true to its ideas, retains its visual style despite the variety of situations, and ultimately doesn’t feel weird. It looks amazing, sounds great, and is generally captivating. The flaws keep the game from getting the highest rating, but it’s not worth skipping, especially if you have a Game Pass subscription.

Pros: incomparable visual style, which the game adheres to throughout the passage, while maintaining the atmosphere; wonderful soundtrack; a banal story is revealed in a very unusual way.

Cons: the length of some episodes; interfering bugs.

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