Norco review – dreary and engrossing Louisiana adventure | Adventure games

Kay returns reluctantly norco (a real location in Louisiana, here semi-fictional) after learning of his mother’s death. She fled this dead end town, built to service an oil refinery, years earlier, and arrives to find her childhood home in a dilapidated state, like Norco itself. Sifting through physical and psychic debris to set the record straight, Kay is brought back to the place, and the family she once rejected, zipping around town on a motorbike in a game that plays out as a realistic, stark offshoot of the classic LucasArts adventure. 90s games.

norco takes place in a version of the future where bipedal robots provide security and support around the house. But it’s not a glittering sci-fi landscape; it’s damp and buzzing, a place of poverty, its people bracing for the next economic or natural disaster. (The game is based on the childhood experiences of developer Yuts, who grew up in Norco.) It’s a town on the verge of bankruptcy, living in the shadow of the rest of the corporation that sucked it in – the American equivalent of Britain’s impoverished mining towns. You explore the world through a series of vistas, all rusting pipelines and arrhythmically flickering lights, where objects and people of interest can be clicked to extract information and new clues, opening up new scenes and stories . To help you stay in control of the colorful cast, Kay has a mind map that illustrates the relationships between her and the other characters – an effective trick.

As Kentucky Route Zero and Disco Elysee, the writing here sometimes sacrifices clarity for floridity, though its ornate descriptions add detail and texture to the rudimentary pixel art. Honored with the inaugural Games award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, norcocoming to consoles later this month (the game launched on Steam earlier this year) will bring its nostalgic yet compelling mysteries and paintings of working-class despair to a new audience.

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