In this day and age, Kickstarter projects have become a common path for Indie developers to get anywhere for their game. Turning to crowd funding, it’s easy to see that some projects take it for granted or don’t fully come to grips with the reality of their goals. It’s for this reason that I take campaigns with a grain a salt when I look around. One of my favorite indicators for a potentially successful title is when they mention that the game has been in proper development for a couple of years and there’s a working demo with a solid foundation. Such is the case with a gem that has already succeeded in hitting its humble 30,000 USD goal: Pixel Noir.
Pixel Noir is described as a JRPG-inspired detective game. Your main protagonist is ‘The Detective’, a gruff, stereotypical detective who is afflicted by a tortured past and because of that suffers from the horrors plaguing him in inopportune times. You eventually receive aid from 3 more party members throughout the course of the game who have their own style of combat.
Gameplay involves the usual style for JRPG, you traverse Pinnacle City in an overworld sense. Eventually you come across enemies on screen where The Detective and his party will enter battle. The battle is turn based where party members and enemies will do their action after their time bar has filled up. Each character can either attack normally, use their special abilities or use items in order to fight. Being a ‘detective’ game as well, there are situations in the game where you’ll have to collect clues through investigation that will help you solve quests, add story and unlock secrets.
The game as the name suggests utilizes a pixel aesthetic. It uses a darker contrast of pixels to portray a more darker, Noir feel to the game. The animation of each entity within the game is quite dynamic, with special mention of interactions with NPC being more dynamic while interrogating them. These small touches provide a very engaging and atmospheric game.
The soundtrack is done by Kunal Majmudar, who has done an extraordinary amount of work for this game and seems to be a core of the development team for Pixel Noir. Using chiptune and piano, he’s captured the feel of the Noir theme that encapsulates the game. You can hear the work he’s done for the game on his spotify playlist:
As mentioned the game has been in full swing for a couple of years now and the demo you can play on Mac or PC shows a game with a lot of promise. There are some features that haven’t been provided in the demo as mentioned in the Kickstarter. What is in the demo however, is a solid JRPG with little ‘side cases’ that open up the game for a lot of questions, particularly the end sequence of the demo. I highly suggest taking a look at the game if you’re into Earthbound or love the Noir genre. Kick in if you like it, there’s a plethora of interesting stretch goals now that it has surpassed its initial funding, including changing cutscenes to a comic style and expanded story. The campaign ends on October 21st, 2016.