Average Playtime: 6 hours

Backbone

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About

Backbone is a pixel art cinematic adventure with stealth and action elements. As private investigator Howard Lotor, you are set to solve detective cases, interrogate witnesses, explore the intriguing and dangerous world around you, and sneak your way to safety using smell-based stealth mechanics.
Backbone combines the visual and social contrasts of film noir with anthropomorphic animals, retrofuturistic technologies, and dystopian fiction. Crawl through the dark alleys of pixelated Vancouver, and experience the impactful storyline focused on themes of power and prejudice.
THE GAME
A rich, living and breathing world waiting to be explored. Backbone takes place in dystopian Vancouver, BC, featuring real locations and breathtaking pixel landscapes.
A stylistic and thematic fusion of film noir, anthropomorphic animals, retrofuturism and dystopian classics. The world of Backbone is something you’ve never seen before but always wished you had.
Challenging, thought-provoking storyline featuring themes of power, corruption, social decay and systemic discrimination. Backbone tells a tale about how our environment shapes us, and how we influence it in return.
GAMEPLAY
Detective work. Collect evidence, interrogate witnesses, connect the dots and follow leads on your own. No hand-holding - move forward through the game by your own rules. Every case has numerous trails, and it’s up to you to decide which one to follow.
Stealth & Action. In the animal world, smell is the most powerful sense. Hide in multi-level environments, mask your scent in garbage bins, follow suspects and escape the chase.
Special abilities. The Artifact is a unique ancient technology with unknown origins and purpose. If you learn how to use it, it might change the regular order or destroy it.
THE STORY
The planet is sprawling with anthropomorphic animal species. The streets of Vancouver are overgrown with ivy and humongous trees, branches and vines piercing through the concrete, and huge flowers nesting on top of the roofs.
The Great Apes call themselves the founding fathers of this world, and they are the moral, ethical and political compass of society. Citizens are divided into informal classes according to their species. The political and underground power is corrupted, and the glass ceiling seems impossible to break.
Vancouver is surrounded by high walls from every side to make sure that no one from across it intrudes. It is strictly forbidden to cross the wall, and the only thing waiting outside is savage hostile creatures.
Howard Lotor is a raccoon and a private investigator who doesn't feel like he belongs. His mundane life is interrupted with the appearance of a powerful technology that can blur the lines of conventional order and change society forever.

Metascore
72
Release date
Developer
EggNut
Publisher
Raw Fury, EggNut
Age rating
Not rated
Website
https://eggnut.net/

System requirements for Linux

Minimum:
  • OS: SteamOS

System requirements for macOS

Minimum:
  • OS: 10.8 Mountain Lion

System requirements for PC

Minimum:
  • OS: Windows 8

System requirements for Nintendo Switch

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Last Modified: May 30, 2021

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Backbone reviews and comments

Backbone is a distopic noir adventure/investigation game set in a world where animals have antropomorphic features and lives in a flawed society ruled by money, power and lust. I will try to keep this review spoiler free, for those who wants to play it, but I have to say I just finished it and it felt weird and unsatisfying.

You play the game as Howard Lotor, a raccoon detective, going through the city and its alleys snitching your nose where you were not called and looking for its secrets and bad people. And boy, you find plenty. The first half of the story was my favourite. Looking for clues, talking to people, walking around just feeling the city. The ambiance itself is fantastic. It felt so good to just walk around the town's neighbours, I did that for a longer time that it felt it was necessary. The places really brings close that noir vibe from investigation stories. The characters are deep and well built, each one with their own stories and interests and I give a big praise for that.

But in the second half, everything starts to feels unrelated and pointless. Everything the game plot gave it so far felt discarded, since it gives space to new ones which are just to me have little correlation to what happened before, sounds almost forced at times. The lore of this world sounds interesting, but a big chunck of it is not explained, it leaves the player wondering what's about. I don't know if this lack of closure was intentional for a sequel game, which... ok, it would explain a little, but I really felt the game could give more meaning and sense to it all. The dialogues are well developed, but player choices doesn't really matter most times, since the them are shown as different ways to a same end. Some are just a reason to get an achievement, and personally this doesn't mean much to me. The ending was so abrupt it felt like I made a wrong choice or that there would be a second part to the game. I can't see myself recommending this game to others past the Prologue (which was great). I look forward to future games from this promising developer, but this one felt like it was rushed and not well fleshed out.

TL;DR I had fun playing it. Great beggining, great art and music, nice characters, but I can't see myself recommending this game after half of it. Looks rushed and messy.
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