Backbone Reviews

Backbone is ranked in the 48th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.
No Recommendation / Blank
Jun 17, 2021

Backbone's sumptuous pixel art and promising narrative threads are undermined by flat gameplay and a non sequitur of a final act.

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7 / 10.0
Jun 7, 2021

As a whole, 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.

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4 / 10
Nov 24, 2021

Backbone had the potential to fill a bit of a void for a noir style game, but it comes up short. It opens with a strong prologue, but the story that follows tries to hit too many different themes meaning there's a lack of focus by the time it comes to a conclusion.

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6 / 10
Jun 29, 2021

I am disappointed by the mixed feelings I get from Backbone. It is absolutely worth a look solely on the merits of its audiovisual presentation, but its attempt to offer commentary or insight into the topics its narrative broaches repeatedly fall flat, particularly in the latter half. EggNut clearly has the goods in the art and music departments, so I would love to see what they can do with a stronger narrative in the future. If you do choose to give Backbone a shot, make sure to get the Artifact Edition, as it includes the wonderful soundtrack.

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Jun 9, 2021

Backbone does both, striking a balance between nostalgic and new, breathing another breath of life into the genre with its gritty, sad grin. This 2D, sidescrolling, pixel-art noir is a short but solid adventure mystery with stunning visuals and meaningful characters.

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9 / 10.0
Jun 8, 2021

Backbone features a compelling story and a well-realised post-noir dystopia, with engaging characters and some smart gameplay.

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65 / 100
Jun 7, 2021

Backbone bites off far more than it can chew, with a completely out of nowhere twist in the third act, disregard of your choices, and a lack of resolution to any of its plot threads. While the promising story and gorgeous visuals had me hooked initially, the game tries to juggle too many things and ends up dropping all the balls.

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Sep 2, 2021

Uncover a grim conspiracy and sweet-talk snooty bears in this genre-hopping indie game

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8.5 / 10.0
Oct 31, 2021

Weird, unique and brilliantly designed, Backbone is a game like no other in 2021. The narrative is both mysterious and absorbing, the characters and dialogue are fun and it never overstays its welcome. I wish I was given a little more information in the second half of the game and the ending a bit more fleshed out but I was left wanting more. Backbone surprised me massively and I enjoyed it a lot.

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4 / 10
Oct 28, 2021

We were enjoying the lowlife-detective-gets-in-way-over-his-head storyline, but it takes another turn later on into something decidedly more obscure. The final hour or two throw the whole story for a loop, and to make things worse, it feels as though none of the plot threads are resolved — you're just left hanging, probably with a furrowed brow, while the credits roll. It's a shame, as the music and visuals are excellent throughout, but the presentation just isn't enough on its own, and that's about all it has.

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GameMAG
Top Critic
6 / 10
Jul 19, 2021

Backbone is a stylish game, which promising story with some interesting characters takes a disappointing turn by the third chapter. The plot was cut short, which only adds to the general disappointment.

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8 / 10
Jun 7, 2021

Promising and lovely, Backbone can't live up to its stellar early chapters, but there's still a worthwhile experience contained within.

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90 / 100
Jun 7, 2021

Between the clever mechanics, the compelling narrative, and the gorgeous pixel art, there’s a real fire lit beneath you from the very start. If you’re looking for a detective story with glistening fangs, glittering eyes, and sharpened hooks, Backbone will be perfect for you.

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7 / 10.0
Jun 17, 2021

Backbone presents the player with an intriguinging world, populated by interesting characters that drive it's often depressing and strange story home to what feels like an eventually inevitable conclusion. It's just a pity that the minute-to-minute gameplay is not only uninspired, but it's also rather boring.

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78%
Jun 15, 2021

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.

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7.3 / 10.0
Jun 25, 2021

Can you solve the cities darkest secret? Backbone is a tense post-noir adventure game that takes place in a dystopian Vancouver, BC. Follow local raccoon and private investigator Howard Lotor as he stumbles into a world full of deceit, murder, and desperation.

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8 / 10.0
Jun 7, 2021

Backbone offers beautiful graphics and evocative music, though it takes some shocking swerves as the plot progresses.

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4 / 5.0
Jun 7, 2021

Even if it's brief and falters during the third act, there's no denying that Backbone is a truly gorgeous and captivating adventure, with an engrossing world that you'll want to see even more of.

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GBAtemp
Top Critic
7 / 10.0
Jun 18, 2021

With its gorgeous aesthetic and intriguing plot, Backbone has a lot going for it but suffers from pacing and execution issues.

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75 / 100
Nov 2, 2021

Backbone is an interactive narrative-based adventure with some underused classic point-and-click gameplay elements mixed with choice possibilities that don't always represent real cause-and-effect options, but bring in its artistic style and well-written text its best qualities.

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