A tale beyond time and space

Genesis Noir is a gorgeous game, engaging story and work of art

A tale beyond time and space

Vae O’Neil, A&E Editor


The Big Bang. What many believe to be the beginning of everything, the creation of our universe, is really just a theory of the evolution of the universe rather than the birth of it. The Big Bang Theory states that the universe was born from an immense amount of energy crammed into a very tiny space, from which it rapidly expanded, gradually making the stars, galaxies, planets and solar systems we know today. Despite there being no immutable scientific theory for how everything was created, humanity has often chosen to turn toward myth for existential comfort; Genesis Noir is one of the youngest of these myths.

Genesis Noir is a game that takes place before, during and after the Big Bang, following two complimentary stories. The player is No Man, a trenchcoated, fedora wearing, godlike being who peddles watches to other divinities at the game’s beginning. The whole aesthetic is, as one would guess, noir. Jazz music plays in the background, the primary color palette is black, white and gray and the game starts in a bustling metropolis where No Man sells his timekeepers on the street. 

The story of No Man is a love story, and a tragic one; later the game introduces the player to Miss Mass, No Man’s love, described in the game’s website as “an alluring jazz singer who attracts all who come close.” No Man walks through the door and witnesses her being murdered, in her own home, by none other than Golden Boy, who is described in the game’s website as “a narcissistic artist who loves to create and destroy.” A pistol is in Golden Boy’s hand. He pulls the trigger. Bang.

So begins the Universe.

Time slows as the gun’s blast spreads toward Miss Mass, No Man begins his journey through time and space to save her; throughout his travels he plants the seeds of life (quite literally), watches the birth and death of stars and solar systems, and participates in the evolution and expansion of the human race. Though saving Miss Mass would undo all of the beauty he had inadvertently created and experienced; it was Golden Boy’s gun that created the universe, after all. The question is, will he go through with it? Players will get the answers.

Looking at Genesis Noir from a mechanical perspective, there’s not a lot of player autonomy; and that’s OK. This isn’t a AAA role-playing title or something like that; it’s a very linear – if abstract – interactive story, in which players only influence the rolling boulder of narrative in one of a scant few paths; one bittersweet, and the other murky and sour.

The many pieces that make up the game are nearly all excellently crafted as well, with the music at the forefront. The soundtrack fits the game better than a glove – loose and jazzy throughout most of the game besides the climax, the music is as much a part of the story as it is a part of the game, accentuating key moments of the plot; the game uses little spoken dialogue, so in its place the music and visual artistry carry the emotions of every scene. 

Overall, Genesis Noir is closer to an interactive film than it is a video game; sure, players control a character and solve puzzles during a journey, but what makes it itself is not its “gameness,” but rather its beautiful story, music and art. 

Genesis Noir was released on March 26, 2021, and is available on PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox.