Renoir is developed by Black Wing Foundation and published by 1C Company. Dev team has been active on Steam for the past two years and this can be seen even in the case of the reviewed game today. It’s both in a polished state and also features the noir subgenre along with some of its tropes. I’m still a fan.
Developer: Black Wing Foundation
Publisher: 1C Company
Genre: Story-driven puzzle platformer
Release date: 16th of November
Biased or not, Noir films and literature weren’t always a favorite topic of mine. I guess they really are an acquired taste and it involves some degree of maturity, since the themes present in this subgenre are usually bleak and gritty. Definitely not light-hearted as the vast majority of platformers found on Steam. This is a crucial element of distinction and at the same time, the saving grace of a rather repetitive game otherwise. From the perspective of its story, the game emulates the narrative thread from Murdered: Soul Suspect. In Renoir we also have a ghost detective attempting to solve his own murder. The puzzle platforming genre is sadly more omnidirectional than an open world environment. Progression is always to the right side of the screen. Still, between you and your escape door to the next level, is always one constant enemy: Light. Whether we talk of street lamps or windows, apparently your ghostly form can’t pass through light sources and from this obstacle, the puzzles themselves emerge.
You can simultaneously control up to 5 ghosts, including yourself and maneuver them towards electrical switches which manipulate trap-doors, elevators and the such. It utilizes a gameplay mechanic of “recording and playing back” the movements of the ghost you can operate. Pacience and careful planning are both important since getting passed some of the obstacles, requires synchronization between several characters at the same time. It gets old very fast and the lack of a more fleshed out tutorial, invites some early moments of frustration. You will keep going though since the story, original or not, still manages to captivate through the intricately detailed buildings (you can’t recreate a proper Noir atmosphere without Art Deco) and outdoor scenery. The cutscenes between levels are presented in the form of nicely drawn comic book-style images which further add personality to Renoir.
A fully 3D platformer that uses grayscale with the occasional highlighted elements in yellow or red. Nothing new on the horizon in neither film nor gaming, but I will always appreciate the subtlety of this chromatic choice. Vivid colors can sometimes express far less than just Black & White would. The soundtrack contains some classy jazz songs which fit the game like a glove, so nothing to complain about that. If only the User Interface segement would be as flawless as the sound selection. The last time I looked in a calendar it was 2016. Why is Renoir’s top resolution option, only 1920×1080? The jagged edges I would notice on some of the assets, locations and characters was only remedied by my creative tweaking within the Nvidia Control Panel, since the game’s video options are barebones to say the least. Massive aliasing issues coupled with the fact that no one replied back to me even after three days of writing on Renoir’s Discussions’ thread about these problems, has left me with a sour taste. Silence is also an answer, gentlemen.
+ Beautiful art style and soundtrack
+ Steam Trading Cards & Achievements
– Resolution and antialiasing issues
Result / Final thoughts
Even with those graphical misshaps which may be a nuisance for you as well or not, I am going to judge this game fairly and appreciate the unique outlook it provides for its puzzle platformer brethren. It is a proverbial “splash of color” and ironically, the very lack of chromatic variation is what makes it stand out. Buy it after it (hopefully) receives some technical support and a price drop.