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Indie Murder Mystery Face Noir Hits Steam

In the mood for a bit of Chandleresque detective work? Check out this new offering from Phoenix Online Studios.

By Pete Davison. Published 6 months ago

Noir fiction lends itself particularly well to the adventure game genre, what with all the investigating, deducing and nuance-filled character interaction that goes on.

We've been pretty well catered to with noir games over the years, too, with titles ranging from Access' Tex Murphy series of adventures that transplanted the noir style into the future, to more recent offerings like L.A. Noire that, for the most part, followed the conventions of the genre remarkably accurately.

Now, noir fans may be pleased to note that there's a new game they may wish to add to their collection: the curiously named Face Noir, now available via Steam.

Face Noir is the work of two-man Italian studio Mad Orange, made up of Gabriele Papalini and Marco Sgolmin. The game is the pair's debut title, and was designed partly as a result of their mutual love of adventure games -- in a developer blog post from a while back, Papalini noted that he "always thought that solving a puzzle was far more rewarding than, say, riddling a Nazi full of bullets."

Face Noir draws specific inspiration from LucasArts and Tim Schafer classic Grim Fandango, which itself had a strong noir feel to it. Both Papalini and Sgolmin are fans of film noir and movies in general, too, and cite 1950s Italian movies as a particular influence on the game -- titles such as those from directors including Comencini, Monicelli and Rossellini, and anything involving the actor Nino Manfredi.

The game was localized into English by growing adventure game specialist Phoenix Online Studios -- the team behind the episodic Cognition series in collaboration with Jane Jensen, and who are also working on the upcoming remake of Jensen's classic Gabriel Knight.

Face Noir casts you in the role of Jack Del Nero, the quintessential down-on-his-luck detective so commonly seen in noir fiction. Jack is falsely accused of murdering a man who left a little girl in his protection, and it's up to you to help him figure out who the girl is, who murdered her former protector and how to clear his name. Along the way, you can expect the usual grimness typically offered by noir fiction, along with plenty of adventure game puzzles to solve on your quest for redemption.

Face Noir has been available for a few months elsewhere on the Internet, but its recent arrival on both Steam and indie portal Desura will help bring it to a wider audience. Currently, the game is 20% off its usual $19.99 price on Steam, putting it down to $15.99 -- you've got until October 24 to take advantage of the promotion if this sounds like your sort of thing.

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