Backbone is a point and click pixel noir adventure game is coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC on June 8.
The game scratches a very specific itch that seems to have emerged over the past few years: noir-inspired mysteries featuring anthropomorphic animals. If you liked Blacksad: Under the Skin, Chicken Police: Paint it Red or Sam & Max, then Backbone might be for you. In it you play private investigating raccoon Howard Lotor, who has spent years working small-time cases and barely scraping by.
Per the official write-up: “Howard Lotor is swept into a job quite unlike any other before it. What starts as a menial case slowly unravels into something much darker, pitting Howard against the oppressive, systemic power hierarchies of the City itself.” The city, an alternate version of Vancouver populated with other talking animals, is rendered in a beautiful hi-res pixel art style with stunning effects like volumetric fog, rain and neon lit environments.
If you’d like a preview of Backbone then you’re in luck. You can download Backbone: Prologue on Steam. It presents the first chapter of the pixel noir adventure. It was originally released in 2019, so it might not reflect everything that the final game will be, particularly in the realm of technical aspects, but it should give you a good idea of the kind of sneaking, snooping and sleuthing you’ll be up to.
Backbone is being developed by Eggnut, a small game studio that is fully remote and dispersed across Canada, Netherlands, Russia and the US. In addition to coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC, the developer says an Xbox One version will launch sometime later this year, but honestly I’m just hoping it supports cloud play so I can take this mystery on the go and by “on the go” I mean in my garden.