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Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critic Reviews What's this?

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6.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 45 Ratings

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  • Summary: Backbone is a post-noir roleplaying detective adventure. Become raccoon private eye Howard Lotor as you interrogate a diverse cast of characters, collect evidence, and explore dystopian Vancouver, BC inhabited by animals.

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22 Minutes of Backbone Gameplay
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Jun 7, 2021
    100
    Howard's journey ends far, far away from where it began and each step continuously develops the emotional investment for everyone in this world. While there are minor mechanical issues such as the "interact" input not always being immediately responsive, each element of Backbone is polished and expertly crafted. Backbone is a must-play GOTY contender that deserves every bit of mainstream recognition it receives, and exceeds the usual reach of its genre, making for a compelling experience that even those with little interest in point-and-click adventures will find difficult to put down.
  2. Sep 14, 2021
    85
    Backbone’s narrative and character work are thrilling, complex, and thought-provoking, and the writing deserves all the praise it can get. That said, there is some feeling of the pacing being slightly off, since the final acts feel like they follow too quickly after the introductory ones. Whether it’s due to a lack of time or inspiration, the story could’ve done with at least two more chapters of narrative substance during the middle stretch. Any other issues I might raise with Backbone are mostly trivial. With its inspired script that accentuates themes of dystopia and desperation, this detective story delivers one of the most inspiring narrative-driven titles I’ve played in some time.
  3. Jun 14, 2021
    80
    Backbone is a simple game to play, meaning that the dialogue and theme development had to carry the experience. While the narrative rushes to an uneasy finish, the story gives you a lot of meat to sink your teeth into.
  4. Jun 13, 2021
    70
    Backbone is full of potential for greatness and makes a terrific first impression. With its compelling lead and supporting cast, and a fascinating setting full of tantalising lore and mysteries to solve, I spent most of my experience excited to find out where it was all leading. Unfortunately, much of the detective gameplay and plot start to come apart by the end, leading to an oddly inconclusive and unsatisfying conclusion.
  5. Edge Magazine
    Jul 17, 2021
    70
    This is a fine debut. Backbone uses its seductive looks to enrich a conceptually thoughtful and carefully plotted-out world, and delivers real surprises within a genre that is all about adhering to time-honoured conventions. [Issue#361, p.116]
  6. Aug 6, 2021
    65
    Quotation forthcoming.
  7. Jun 8, 2021
    60
    Is Backbone worth a look? Yes, particularly if the idea of playing as an anthropomorphic animal appeals to you. There are times when it’ll have you on tenterhooks and there are several characters that are strong enough to stand out. It’s admirable that this was achieved on a small budget, but ultimately the developers have tried to cram too much in for Backbone to be truly successful.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. Jun 9, 2021
    10
    Backbone won't be for everyone, but it's a genuinely incredible ride that I'm glad I went on. The art is beautiful, and it's the kind of storyBackbone won't be for everyone, but it's a genuinely incredible ride that I'm glad I went on. The art is beautiful, and it's the kind of story that sticks with you after you finish playing it. I really loved this game. Expand
  2. Jun 26, 2021
    9
    Backbone przenosi nas do świata wypełnionego antropomorficznymi zwierzętami, którym funkcjonuje główny bohater gry Howard Lotor (szop pracz).Backbone przenosi nas do świata wypełnionego antropomorficznymi zwierzętami, którym funkcjonuje główny bohater gry Howard Lotor (szop pracz). Od pewnego już czasu para się on pracą prywatnego detektywa. Nie może on jednak narzekać na nadmiar zleceń. Wręcz przeciwnie ledwie wiąże on koniec z końcem, podejmując się głównie słabo płatnych spraw niewiernych mężów. Nie inaczej miało być w przypadku jego nowej klientki Odette, która podejrzewała męża o posiadanie kochanki. Pozornie proste śledztwo mające na celu zdobycie dowodów pomocnych podczas rozwodu, ewoluuje jednak w dość zaskakującym i bardzo niebezpiecznym kierunku. Więcej na temat fabuły nie można zdradzać, aby nie psuć graczom kilku naprawdę mocnych i zaskakujących zwrotów akcji. Można jedynie dodać, że historia staje się tutaj z czasem naprawdę mroczna.

    Tytuł jest przedstawicielem dość klasycznych gier przygodowych. Główny bohater porusza się tutaj po wybranych lokacjach (w prawo lub lewo), wchodząc w interakcję z postaciami i różnymi przedmiotami. Od czasu do czasu zabawa urozmaicana jest elementami skradania czy zagadkami, które należy rozwiązać, aby ruszyć z historią dalej.

    Do elementów mających wymusić na graczu rozruszanie szarych komórek, można mieć pewne zastrzeżenia. Zagadek jest tutaj trochę za mało (przynajmniej jak na mój gust), a jeśli już się pojawiają, to są one zbyt proste (jakieś wyzwanie intelektualne, stanowi tylko jedna z nich). Na temat elementów skradania nie ma sensu się mocniej rozpisywać, są one poprawnie przygotowane i nie ma ich również zbyt wielu.

    Czym więc wyróżnia się ten tytuł? Zdecydowanie największa siła i potęga gry skupia się na interakcjach z innymi postaciami. Jako Howard prowadzimy tutaj dziesiątki różnych rozmów, które należy poprowadzić tak, aby uzyskać od rozmówcy, jak najwięcej szczegółów (zarówno dotyczących prowadzonej sprawy, jak i takich odkrywających złożoności otaczającego nas świata).
    Śledztwo dotyczące niewiernego męża naprawdę mocno tutaj ewoluuje, stając się z każdym kolejnym odkrytym śladem czymś znacznie poważniejszym i mrocznym. W pewnym momencie gra zaczyna epatować również sporą dawką „psychodelicznych” treści, które nadają jej jeszcze większej nietuzinkowości.

    Odbyte rozmowy czy odkryte materiały pisane, zaczynają przed nami również budować złożony obraz świata gry. Miasto wypełnione jest bowiem wieloma kontrastami, które przekładają się na system kastowy i nierówności społeczne. Na szczycie piramidy władzy znajdują się mięsożercy, którzy na każdym możliwym kroku wykorzystują roślinożerców, traktując ich przy tym jako „podludzi”. Każdy kolejny odkryty skrawek tajemnicy, pokazuje obraz zepsucia, śmierci i bezkarności. Nadaje to tytułowi niesamowicie sugestywnego i głębokiego klimatu. Całość pod kilkoma względami przypomina takie filmowe produkcje jak: Tajemnice Los Angeles, Sin City czy dzieła Lyncha.

    Oprawa graficzna to element, który bardzo mocno wyróżnia Backbone spośród całej masy innych gier niezależnych. Owszem twórcy postawili na pikselowe 2D, jednak pixelart jest tutaj dopracowany w najdrobniejszych detalach, w pełni wykorzystując zalety silnika Unreal Engine. Niesamowite cieniowanie, zabawa światłem, tła pokazujące różnorodność miasta i zamieszkujących tam klas społecznych. Wszystko to zachwyca i sprawia, że przedstawiony świat tętni życiem.
    Zachwycać można się również nad ścieżką dźwiękową gry, która została idealnie dopasowana do konkretnych scen i klimatu noir. Jazzowe kawałki tak mocno wpadają w ucho, że rozbrzmiewają one w głowie gracza jeszcze długo po zakończeniu zabawy.

    https://popkulturowykociolek.pl/ecenzja-gry-backbone/
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  3. Mar 10, 2022
    9
    Starts off as a regular detective story with an engaging plot and characters before going completely insane in a way that I never could haveStarts off as a regular detective story with an engaging plot and characters before going completely insane in a way that I never could have imagined and did enjoy. The game ended where the specific story being told ended, but it felt like a prequel to a long running tv show that doesn't exist because the world building is so good. I'm glad there is a sequel on the way since certain plot threads get no resolution, though there are hints as to what those resolutions could be. Expand
  4. Sep 14, 2021
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I think that in all honesty that the BackBone game was a unique detective noir game which was immensely captivating (for the half of the game).. The first act the prologue ..the Vancouver infused atmosphere with traces of USSR. Although the UI in terms of conversations was clunky here and there, I enjoyed every single bit of the game .However act 2 was simply out of the blue and made no sense at all .. However what I would like to inform is that BackBone is a sequel and they are working on the next act and also giving spoilers here and there like a new character Wisconsin which is displayed on their twitter handle. Expand
  5. Jun 6, 2022
    6
    First half of the game was excellent. 2nd half of the game is a complete mess and leaves you feeling like half the game is missing. PlotlinesFirst half of the game was excellent. 2nd half of the game is a complete mess and leaves you feeling like half the game is missing. Plotlines come together, peoples motivations are revealed, and then credits roll and you just think "wait, what?" Expand
  6. Jun 20, 2021
    5
    TL;DR
    If the Backbone demo was Game of Thrones season 1, then the full game faithfully captures the confusion and letdown of GoT season 8.
    TL;DR
    If the Backbone demo was Game of Thrones season 1, then the full game faithfully captures the confusion and letdown of GoT season 8.

    It genuinely pains me to write a bad review of this game. Second only to Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3, Backbone was my most anticipated game for 2021. When the demo was released in 2019, it oozed with potential: a gripping plot; high-stakes, nonlinear gameplay; a unique, noir setting; consequential choices. For my money, Backbone had the makings of a GotY candidate. Unfortunately, the full game fails to maintain the inspiration that made the demo so promising. To its credit, the things that Backbone does well, it does really, really well. The art direction and the character designers should be commended. But sadly, this only intensifies the disappointment over finished product: a linear progression through an increasingly chaotic and absurd narrative. Sometimes, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

    Pros
    - The pixelated world is consistently charming. The characters are well-designed and each district of the city has a unique, authentic feel.
    - The choice of an anthropomorphic universe creates a fantastical distance from reality that allows the game to tackle heavier themes without becoming depressingly grim while, at the same, evoking more empathy than a human cast might.
    - The characters are engaging and well-developed. Each has a unique and (mostly) consistent personality, masterfully conveyed through their dialogue and their animation.
    - The protagonist, Howard, is refreshingly flawed and vulnerable. His foil, Renee, is immediately likable, and their relationship provides some of the most engaging interactions in the game.

    Neutral
    - Sound design fluctuates between being appreciably emotional or intense, to awkwardly silent.
    - Puzzle and stealth elements are introduced and then immediately abandoned.

    Cons
    - Choices do not matter; a fact the game seems to realize and lampshade by Act 3. Backbone is 50% walking simulator, 50% visual novel.
    - What begins as a gritty, grounded narrative gradually spirals into Kafkaesque absurdity. The tone dissolves from harsh reality to depressing nihilism, in an effort to make some philosophical point about ontology that clearly went over my head.
    - In what seems like an effort to discourage criticism, attempts at social commentary are shoehorned late into the game. The potential for a thoughtful examination of morality is discarded in favor of quick attacks on popular strawmen (eg. men, the upper-class, wealthy individuals). Plot holes are similarly stitched together with such attacks.
    - The ending is rushed. While I imagine it was intended as a cliffhanger, it feels more like a non sequitur. The intent was probably to leave the game open-ended for DLC or a sequel, pending its reception. Sadly, it will be an uphill battle to recover a plot mired by philosophical incoherence and political soapboxing.

    Overall, the game took me about 5 hours to complete, and I interacted with almost everything I found. I’ve read some were able to complete it in as few as 3 hours and others spent as long as 7. Since all the choices will inevitably lead to the same results, there is little replay value apart from the extreme achievement completionists. Criticisms aside, I sincerely hope we see a sophomore project from EggNut. They clearly have talent on their team and I would gladly give them a second chance. If you are as charmed by the setting as I am, you can do worse than Backbone, but given the diminishing returns of the time spent on the game, I recommend catching it on Xbox Game Pass or at least 50% discount.
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  7. Sep 13, 2021
    3
    Looks pretty good but plays worse than the worst point-and-click you've ever played, and the writing is so mediocre that it would have beenLooks pretty good but plays worse than the worst point-and-click you've ever played, and the writing is so mediocre that it would have been better if it were outright bad. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews

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