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.
Part noir thriller, part rumination on the human condition, and part ... something else, Backbone is stylish through and through, presenting more questions than answers but brimming with vibrantly realised characters.
I love this game's world and characters. Really hit me right after 2020. Never seen a better game with better politics, obviously biased. Don't go into thinking it'll be like the demo or a traditional point and click adventure. Think more of a walking simulator but structured like a point and click.
I walked away from Backbone puzzled about the ending, and in truth, I was a little disappointed. The game kind of squandered the excellent setup it spent hours developing, but because the setup is so good, I don’t feel totally let down. I still enjoyed my time in this dystopian Vancouver populated by animals, and I would almost certainly play a sequel if one were ever developed. But there’s the rub. Backbone feels like it needs a sequel. The story just doesn’t feel complete right now, and given that the game is pretty short (you can probably beat it in about 5-7 hours), it’s hard for me to enthusiastically recommend it. If you’re still interested despite the issues I’ve outlined, make sure you’re prepared for an abrupt conclusion. If you’re on the fence, well… maybe wait for a sale.
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]
Backbone is stylish but not exceptional. It’s a good time with an enjoyable story, but otherwise it’s just kind of routine. The visual style is great, but it’s offset by uneven audio design. There’s definitely a lot to love about Backbone, I just don’t feel it sticks the landing quite well. It will be worthwhile playing for most, but I’m more interested in what comes next from EggNut.
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.
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 story that sticks with you after you finish playing it. I really loved this game.
A lovely collection of pixel art pieces doing a very poor job of pretending to be a game. Dialogue is strung out and adds nothing to the experience. The decision to always give the player a choice of 3 different things to say was bafflingly stupid. This is the most on-the-rails narrative experience I've ever played - why did anyone think dialogue choices would help? Really, every game decision made here is pretty self-defeating. The only part of this game that holds up is the art and as magnificent as the art truly is, it's not nearly as good as the overall game is bad.
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.