Latest posts by Stephen Carr (see all)
- 2K Announces First Members of the WWE 2K17 Roster - June 15, 2016
- Atelier Sophie Review – Alchemist of the Mysterious Book - June 8, 2016
- Overwatch Review – Battle Boring? Far From It - May 27, 2016
Soulbound Games, a Czech Republic-based developer, has created a Kickstarter page for RENOIR, their visually-stunning, film noir-inspired game. Described as “a story-driven 2.5D puzzle platformer”, the game stars James Renoir, a private detective struggling to uncover the story behind his own death.
Looking at RENOIR’s trailer, the striking environment immediately stands out. Its visual style is reminiscent of games like Limbo, which had a similar use of grey backgrounds and silhouetted characters. It suits the film noir style perfectly. Even more impressive are the backgrounds; every building, statue and tree feels lovingly crafted. The lighting and smoke effects give an authentic film noir-esque feel. All the elements combine to make a scrolling parallax effect, giving the game the remarkable 2.5D effect that makes the game stand out so much.
With regards to gameplay, the platforming elements are integrated nicely with the environment. Small cliffs, fire escapes and rooftops are traversed to avoid danger. Speaking of which, as a dead-but-not-exactly being, James Renoir can’t expose himself to direct light and that seems to be the main hazard to be avoided during gameplay. The player crouches under brightly-lit windows and must find ways to deactivate hanging lights that can cause them harm.
In situations like this, RENOIR introduces the ability to take control of other deceased souls – victims of violent crimes or tragic accidents – who aren’t as affected by the light as James Renoir and can navigate the environment in ways he can’t. The way this works is the player records their actions as one of the victims, then play it back while playing as Renoir. As the ghost of the victim deactivates lights, Renoir can pass through them to the next obstacle. The closest comparison that springs to mind is a similar mechanic in the original Xbox’s Blinx the Time Sweeper, which also featured the player recording their actions to solve puzzles.
In theory, this could make for some very intricate puzzle designs and it’ll be interesting to see how Soulbound Games use these mechanics to their fullest. Their estimated completion date is January 2017 and this seems like a good length of time to implement complex puzzle ideas. Already displaying very good graphics and a strong emphasis on storytelling, it’ll be interesting to see how RENOIR develops over the next year and a half.
RENOIR is currently on Kickstarter with a target goal of £39,000.