Games Reviews

Review | backbone

Backbone has a narrative of the best works with a noir theme and any fan of movies, series or books will have fun with this game that deeply rescues the best of this artistic style.


backbone it's a post-noir narrative adventure. Raccoon private detective Howard Lotor roams dystopian Vancouver, inhabited only by animals, and experiences an intimate story of change and transformation.

the inspirations of backbone they are film noir, weird science fiction, post-Soviet aesthetics, current political regimes, the work of Lynch and Kaufman, and the existentialism of Sartre. It's a cinematic linear narrative experience that subverts its genre and challenges our perceptions of what it's like to be a person.

This is a summary of what players can only know about the title. In reality, Backbone is much more than what its synopsis demonstrates. It's a very intimate game, with a simple gameplay and a look known by those who like games with a more retro style.

The game

Backbone as stated above is an intimate game. It also had to be, thanks to the works it's based on. If you know a little, at least the work of David Lynch, you will already understand the reasons. In case you don't know, it's not that complicated to understand.

This game has a melancholy style of its character, someone individualistic, who solves things his way. A style geared towards DC's Question hero, which is a little dirtier, blending into the alleys that even Batman wouldn't think to enter, as he'll definitely have to use a little more fist than wits to get information.

Not that Batman doesn't do this, but it's much more common to see other "detectives" like The Question and even Spirit do this and come away with multiple bruises on their face. But this is too superficial to demonstrate the issues involved in the spirit of this character.

As with the Noir stories, Howard Lotor is not only looking to solve a case that was handed to him, but also his own self. In these narratives, the character is confronted with his emotions that are always on the darker side and in the shadows, such as the cases he must solve. And as they progress and find the clues, they are also able to solve their own dilemmas.


This is one of the simplest a player can have. Just using a left and right button and another to confirm what you should do, how to get something, chat etc. There is no secret in Backbone and many commands to be done, so it is easily accessible to any type of player, especially casual ones.

In addition to very easy commands, its gameplay follows the “converse” pattern, choosing question options to get an answer. Nothing problematic. It may seem like an old game genre, as it really is, but it remains one of the best forms of this style, making it a lot of fun.

In case you're still wondering, it's like the old role-playing games, where the player chooses a phrase and will have a right answer.


Backbone is above all a work of art. Not just a game, but it has pixel art and 3D effects. Even though it's a simple left-and-right game, each screen is a real screen. The combination of light and shade, dirt, some totally wet places, rain, sun, among all the weather, makes Backbone have an impressive atmosphere that ends up delighting mainly fans of movies like Blade Runner.


As well as the visuals have to be highlighted separately, the game's soundtrack must also gain a unique space. Many games currently give preference only to an action song or one that shows that something is going to happen. In Backbone this is quite different.

As it's a detective noir game, Jazz's musical style is a must. Jazz not only serves to set the beat and increase interest in history, but as an artistic-musical expression originating from communities in New Orleans, it enriches the game in terms of culture.

Worth it?

Among the many games that arrived this year, Backbone differs by going beyond worth. The game is rich in several aspects, mainly because it has a denser emotional atmosphere and doesn't tire the player. Another important aspect is that Backbone takes you into the game, making you a part of this game, not just a spectator who must keep pushing buttons.

And to complete, Backbone has a narrative of the best works with a noir theme and any fan of movies, series or books will have fun with this game that deeply rescues the best of this artistic style.

The game is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S since October 2021.



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