Missing classic adventure games? Norco is a pixel indie adventure game that offers us an amazing story, dark mystery and … an atmosphere directly from the classics of the Sierra genre. All this with dystopia sauce! Let it attract you and you will not regret it!
Norco – a turkey with a futuristic twist
Not a good time for indie games and adventure games. Recently, I had the opportunity to play TUNIC – a charming adventure game with a fox in the lead role, and fans of the classic admired the wonderful continuation of the legendary series of Benoit Sokal – Siberia: The Former World. What can I say, each new headline catches my attention and I always expect something juicy from this genre. True, lately, independent developers are dominating here, and you have to sift a little straw (in the form of running games or hidden objects that are not very interesting).to be a stone with a decent historybut worth it.
Classic adventure games have had a regular audience for many years, not to mention the fans. Those who like to walk on the screen and catch objects by moving the cursor patiently. Walkers and codbreakers. Who doesn’t combine everything with everything in a desperate move, knows what I’m talking about. However, without a good plot, the game simply goes through the boards.
So after watching the trailer for Norko, I was glad that the games in the style of my favorite Gabriel Knight will be something for those who long for the cult atmosphere: The Sins of the Fathers or Steel Under the Sky will not be forgotten. Dystopic climates for some reason I never miss it and how else combine them with the swampy atmosphere of the southern United States and the Creole charm of New Orleans, it is simply impossible to resist this merger. Is Norco really a game that will meet the strict requirements of adventure games? You will learn from my opinion.
A mystery in the shadow of a large oil refinery
Norco is a real place. This is a town in the United States where industrial behemoths really dominate – the giant Shell refinery. The existence of this whole city depends on this plant, and even the name is associated with this industrial complex – NIt may be ABOUTrleans Rfinish Yesmpany.
Meanwhile, the game takes us to the dystopian future of this city. We play the role of a girl named Kay, who escapes from Norko to travel and explore the world – with the exception of the New Orleans area, which was set on fire by an oil refinery. Our hero, who traveled to the conflict-ridden United States, did everything to separate himself from the corrupt past, dominated by great industry and technology that destroyed human identity. He even threw his phone at Rio Grande. But that meant he didn’t get any bad news from home, and only his younger brother – a late letter from Blake – changed everything – Cain’s mother died of cancer.
So the girl decides to return to Norco. At that moment, the reality hit Kay in the face: Blake, left alone, sank to the ground. The only thing we know is that he uses the QuackJob application – a program for charlatan orders. In addition, Kay’s mother – Catherine – learns until the end of his life he was trying to unravel some secrets about the refinery. Several sympathetic Norco residents point out that this is due to the presence of a kind of white light visible in the swamps, which does not tell us anything. To bring us down mentally, not only the oil refinery complex, but the Shield Corporation, which runs the entire city, kept Catherine in the spotlight, and there are many signs that she is now accepting us …
Travel to Louisiana of the future and … your own mind
What really happened here? We will learn Like Kay, she explores and relives past events like Catherine, the mother of the protagonist. To find his brother, we will have to break down the secrets of the city and the Shield Corporation into key factors. In return, as Catherine, on behalf of the QuackJob application, we will do research for a client who is probably not human, called Superduck … And even worse, the more we know about all of this, the weirder it becomes.
There is nothing to blame, Norco seems at first glance the classic point and click focuses on the story rather than combining elements. So there are extensive dialogues, descriptions of things, or just the thoughts of the heroes. There is a lot of walking, looking for clues, a lot of research and exploration.
Playing Norco can be compared to looking at a book full of hidden “secrets” – do you remember something like that? As I explored history more and more and became acquainted with the various flavors hidden in the game, I became more and more immersed in the world of Norco. It is also worth noting that there are many unusual elements for the genre.
Such is the solution team. Not only people, but our friends will help us in the adventure. Interestingly, their role is not limited to providing information. They can also help a lot in the fight (!). Clashes in Norco are arcade mini-games against time for example, clicking on characters in a certain order. I don’t like such arcade hint and click attachments, but luckily they rarely appear here.
Interestingly, this is also seen in the game many additional activities – Elements to breach security, cross swamps or simply find codes. Some of these mini-games are so tightly tied with heart-shaped ropes that they stick you in your chair. Play the story of the crocodile shown in the traveling theater and you will understand what I am talking about. The puzzles themselves are not particularly difficult, but they make sense. You can see that the creators focus more on the plot than on very difficult games.
On the other hand, the resolution of the “event log” issue surprised me a lot. Perform daily during the game we will complete the mental maphere people, events and facts mix slowly like a puzzle. It’s interesting, because mapping consciousness is a very real service in the game world – do you want to copy the contents of your brain to a disk before you die? No problem!
Swamp blues and androids
Exactly – it is impossible to forget, while walking through the city of Norco, which was depleted by an oil refinery and collapsed New Orleans. the futuristic atmosphere of the whole game. A corporate avatar even serves an empty gas station in a hole that breathes like a hometown, and our team will soon find a female android – Million.
What can I say, the dystopian atmosphere of a gloomy life in a world ruled by corporations pours buckets here and causes only the backs of people wearing foil hats to tremble. Many of the issues raised in the game are current events, such as the social dimension of ubiquitous technology. The game is also a great portrait of the American South – with light nostalgia and black humor. Simply In the southern Gothic pixel version.
Surprisingly, the creators contrasted the unfriendly cyberpunk aura with the flowery language used in the game. The story in Norko is just written and beautiful – poetic and dreamy. This shows not only the lack of prospects, but also the beauty of the swamps polluted by the refinery or the deteriorating future of New Orleans. The dialogues are written lightly and with a paw, and the characters encountered make a pleasant impression and they are a subtle caricature of American society. Sometimes Wallmart is a little too serious for people, but we are close.
But not so sweet, I have to disappoint players who do not know good English. The game has not yet been translated and its content is accessible to people with advanced language skills.
Dark but beautiful
The pixel art in Norco may not be very beautiful for some, but it completes the wrapped world well and shows it accurately. I think so everything is beautifully drawn, and the places and characters are crafted with an idea and covered in a penetrating Gothic style. Cheese bars, kitschy shops, the industrial charm of refineries and the dark charm of bayou – the atmosphere in this game is definitely its strength. The addition of real photos of refineries and wetlands in Norko is also an excellent element that completes this story in an interesting way. All you need to do is turn on the TV in the game.
In the background of our game, he accompanies us pleasant electronic music. It does not come to the fore and is an excellent foundation for the story told here. Characters, although no one voices them, enrich these voices with distorted murmurs instead of speech. All these elements strengthen the atmosphere and almost evoke very nostalgic feelings.
Norco – is it worth playing?
Thanks to the atmosphere of this amazing game, unique themes and interesting story has a chance to turn into a cult game. Because even if it is not so long – it can be completed in a few hours – the saturation with the dystopian climate of the American South is so strong that there is nothing but a complete immersion in the history of this swamp. Adventure fans – you will not be disappointed. I would highly recommend!
Game rating Norco:
- a well-told, rather interesting story
- Characters who accurately describe American society
- Incredible climate
- Rich flavors and various secrets in the game
- pixel graphics to correct the dystopian atmosphere
- There is no Polish version
- “Battle” that does not add anything to the game
- unpretentious puzzles
- short transition time – because you would like more
- Ability to play:
We got Norco for free from GOG.com for this review. If you are interested in this title, please visit this website