Noir Syndrome is a procedurally generated Detective Murder-Mystery with a new story every time! Featuring slick pixel art animations and a jazzy soundtrack, the player is thrown right in to a highly stylized vision of film noir.
User reviews:
Mixed (148 reviews) - 66% of the 148 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 2, 2014

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About This Game

Noir Syndrome is a procedurally generated Detective Murder-Mystery with a new story every time! Featuring slick pixel art animations and a jazzy soundtrack, the player is thrown right in to a highly stylized vision of film noir. Visit locations, interrogate suspects, search for clues, and eventually solve the case before the killer escapes - or you wind up dead yourself.


  • Procedural generation: Murder mystery scenarios with a new culprit and clues each time, every play-through is unique.
  • Permanent choices: NPCs, interactions, death, and a slew of other features will all persist until a new game is started. Every action counts!
  • Notebook: Collect vital clues in the detective's notebook to help narrow down suspects and solve the case.
  • Investigation: Interact with and examine numerous objects and characters in a number of environments in the search for more information on the killer.
  • Countdown: Given a set number of days to solve the mystery, each area visited will decrement the time left, adding to the urgency of every case.
  • Freedom of choice: Attempt to solve the case, or live out your remaining time doing as you please - be it fighting the law, going after gang members, or just seeing the city.
  • Gunplay: Combat is generally to be avoided as a single bullet will take down the player. However, when necessary, the revolver is always available for use.
  • Badges: Complete a variety of challenges to earn unique badges which directly influence future playthroughs.
  • Statistics and Scores: Statistics and high scores for a wide variety of topics will persist through every game.
  • Costumes: Multiple unlockable costumes can be earned in game. Play as the default male or female detective, or unlock a variety of new outfits.
  • Challenges: Optional challenges unrelated to the main case are generated each game. Every challenge completed provides permanent bonuses to all playthroughs.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics (2000/3000), or dedicated GPU with OpenGL Support, 1280x720 or above
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Tends to run well even on many low-end machines
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: Intel Core i3
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 4000, or dedicated GPU with OpenGL Support, 1280x720 or above
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-Compatible
    • OS: OSX
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GPU with OpenGL Support, 1280x720 or above
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Set Gatekeeper to allow all applications; Requires Java 1.6+
    • OS: Ubuntu 10
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GPU with OpenGL Support, 1280x720 or above
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Java 1.6+
Customer reviews
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Mixed (148 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 22
NOt bad at all, I enjoyed it =)

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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
109 of 123 people (89%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
Noir Syndrome is an interesting game. It tries to bring in something new to the Rogue-lite market, by putting you in the shoes of a private detective. From there, you have several places to visit to gather clues and suspects, while trying not to step on the wrong faction's toes.
While the concept is fantastic, the game's scope is much more modest. I was expecting much more from it, and it's not what it was trying to deliver.
Sessions last about 15 minutes.

There is a rampant murderer in the city (for cult reasons), and you can visit every landmark freely, spending one day to explore each area. I was expecting a bit more FTL or WeirdWorlds influence, with a deep lore that one could discover by playing it over and over again, but this is purely a mechanical game. Unfortunately, its mechanics are not robust enough to carry it, in my opinion.

The game's artstyle is not beautiful, nor unique. You can probably get that from the screenshots. But it's functional, and to be honest, it didn't prove very relevant in my enjoyment of the game. A great artstyle would certainly make it more enjoyable, but I could distinguish everything of important here, so it's fine.

The Music, however, was pretty neat! As you would expect from a Noir game, it features a lot of Jazz, with a bit of chiptune influences at times, and also Classical music in a couple of places (expensive hotels and the hunting club, for example). But for the most part, it's jazz. And it fits the detective vibe perfectly.
It's not something I'd listen to on my own time (it's simple, and not a lot of variety), but I didn't feel like turning it off while playing the game!

Now that this is out of their way, I'll explain how the game works.

You have 14 days to explore the city and find out who the culprit is, and bring him to justice. You have various different areas of the city to explore. You can explore one each day.
In those areas there are objects and people. In a restaurant, for example, you can speak to people there, and also explore the seats and tables for clues. Each area functions similarly. This exploration phase plays like a 2D side-scroller.
People can be either of 2: normal people, and sellers. Normal people can give you suspects (or give a very generic and not very convincing argument against them being a suspect... just flavour text), while vendors will try to sell you Food, Lockpicks or Bullets.
Examinable objects can also give you Locks, Bullets, Money, or Clues.
You'll need Locks to open doors or steal from vaults, and Bullets to... well... kill people. More on that later.

Clues are a bit more interesting (although not too much). For your deductive reasoning, you'll have to find suspects that fit certain criteria. After you learn about a person, you'll know all of their attributes. Clues will provide you with the killer's attributes.
Each person has a faction, an occupation, a gender, and a name. The faction includes Police, Mob, and Civillian. Occupation can go from Artist or Chef to Tailor or Driver. Once you think you've found who the killer is, you check him on your notebook, and his location will be shown on the map.
Every clue is about the killer. This is very important (and also a big issue). No matter where you find it, the clue is always about the murderer. Also, the clues are Binary. A gun holster, for example, tells you (s)he's either from the Mob, or the Police. An ornate fabric tell you (s)he's either a Tailor, or a Dancer. And so on. There can't be contradictory clues, so you'll end up collecting just enough to find which aspect is common between them.
If no one fits those traits, you'll need to speak to more people to get more suspects.

This is a very uninteresting way of making you a detective, isn't it? There's barely any brainwork from the player! It's just about running around the place, inspecting every random background object (because that's where you get clues), and then finding the right choices. It doesn't feel like you're playing a detective, and every game ends up playing too similarly.
Since every clue is about the killer, you don't really need to go to the crime scenes or follow leads to find anything about him(her). You can just explore any place that's convenient to you, and you'll easily succeed. This is probably the biggest issue I have with it. There's not a lot of thinking in this game, and it completely takes the "detective" part out of the game.

On the City, there are different possible events. There are Civillian Gatherings, Police/Mob takeovers, Crime Scenes, and fishy places. About he latter, I have no ideia... You get that information from the people, but there is nothing different in those areas.
The first 3 are areas dominated by said faction. This is relevant when you killed someone from the Police/Mob and left witnesses, or stole from either, as factions can then be hostile towards you, and shoot on sight. On Hard mode, there's always an hostile faction from the start.
CrimeScenes are areas without people, where you can look for clues, without the risk of getting murdered.

Other than that, one important aspect is the Hunger Meter. Yes. This has a ♥♥♥♥ing hunger meter.
I'm sorry, that's rude. But seriously... Why?!
The game has nothing to do with survival, except for the fact that you have to buy food not to die. Each time you examine something, or open doors, you'll lose 3 points. A piece of food can give you from 100 to 300, depending on the price. I guess this puts a stop to spamming Z constantly, but it doesn't feel necessary to have such a "feature".

This is a good segway!
The game is far too easy. There aren't too many suspects, and it's easy to find his attributes from the clues. Normal mode is not challenging at all. Hard Mode, can be fairly challenging, but for the wrong reasons. Food could be one of them, but you learn to play with it. The main reason is the factions that's trying to kill you. You have very limited bullets (1-2, usually), so you can't just kill everyone, which is good. However, while finding clues is very easy, finding all the suspects can take more effort, especially, when there's a faction that will kill you immediately, and there may also be hitmen on you, that seem to spawn randomly. You can literally enter an area and just die, because he was right in front of you, and you couldn't escape.
This helps the game having challenge, but still doesn't feel like being the detective was the focus. The detective part is a very thin layer, surrounded by all these other systems trying to keep you from examining it closely.

I think I've covered most of it. It's a purely mechanical game, of getting clues and suspects, and then arresting them. Killing them ends the game, but not with a victory. There are some special systems, like stealing from factions (that ♥♥♥♥ them off) or killing everyone in an area not to leave witnesses, but those play a very minor role in the overall game. This is because the game isn't hard at all! When you die, it's mostly out of your control.

The only narrative, is present in the murderers appartment, where there are random logs (6), with a passage of his Egypt-mythology related killing spree. Nothing substancial at all, though. There are no interesting plots throughout the city, no lore, no interesting random events, nothing of the sort. It was what I was mostly looking forward to, unfortunately...

Conclusion. It's not an awful game. It's actually pretty solid, for what it is. If you're looking for a very simple game (perhaps a good first project), then go ahead. I enjoyed the game, but I don't consider it great at all. Lots of wasted potential, but an interesting effort nonetheless. Only higher from here!
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57 of 72 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 5, 2014
Noir Syndrome is one of those games that falls into the quirky category of "For its price, it's pretty good." In spite of the claims of the developer, to say that each playthrough of Noir Syndrome generates a new and unique procedurally generated Murder Mystery story is a bit of a stretch. That being said, it's still a fun puzzler that mixes in enough demand for quick reflexes, gut instincts, and the ability to bluff with confidence to make it a very worthwhile experience.

In Noir Syndrome, you play an anonymous flatfoot who wakes up one day to a city under siege from the mysterious murderer Anubis. You are given 14 days to explore the city, interviewing citizens for tips and suspects, searching through garbage cans and police desks for clues, and avoiding the bullets of the police and the mob (assuming you were rude enough to tick off either party somehow). Over time, Anubis will strike again and again, reducing your score but also helping weed out suspects. Visiting crime scenes burns through your valuable time, but searching for clues and chatting with citizens burns calories, so between the actual detective work you'll need to scrounge up funds and get a bite to eat. You can also spend cash on tips from the mob, lockpicks to aid in your more "thorough" investigations, and bullets for taking out those who take offense at your methods.

Once you have enough clues and suspects, you'll be able to narrow down the names and know for certain who your man is. Of course, if time's running short, you might be forced to make an educated guess and hope for the best; given the choice between walking into a nest of furious gunmen and placing your faith in a coinflip, sometimes half-baked detective work is really your best bet. Each game takes about 20 minutes to complete, so it's not like you aren't committed to success, but at the same time losing isn't exactly the end of the world.

Eventually, the game will get a touch dull; there's only one city layout, and the number of variables they can flip around really isn't that huge. Fortunately, there are three difficulty settings which drastically affect the experience, 30 in-game Achievements to acquire that provide you with bonuses for future cases, and an alternate Dinner Party play mode that forces you to find your man in a fraction of the time of a normal game, and which unlocks a variety of goofy costumes (always a solid selling point).

Noir Syndrome accomplishes all this with a presentation better suited for an NES than a radio serial broadcast. It might not scratch any authentic murder-mystery itches, but it's a clever little puzzler that's well worth the price of admission.
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23 of 26 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 25, 2014
Well isn't this a nice little game, a creative idea executed fairly well.

The idea behind it is you're a private investigator in a violent town, trying to arrest an assassin. As a result, you investigate this filthy town while trying to stay alive.
The clues are randomly placed in the environment and you have to investigate every nook and cranny to get the clues that will reveal who the true culprit is. Some clues are more decisive than others, for example, a bullet casing may indicate the culprit is a Mobster or a member of the Police, while a Police ID precisely tells you the culprit affiliation.
You have to figure out 3 things : Affiliation (Civilian, Mobster, Policeman), Job (Driver, Chef, etc.) and Sex (Male or Female).
Of course you can just guess and try an arrest but if you get it wrong you fail.
As to how gather suspects, you have to talk to the people in various places, crime scenes don't have people lingering about but have generally more clues and some events make people amass in a place, particularly if they're from one affiliation.
Anyway, this becomes quite important when playing a higher difficulty than normal, because either the police or the mob want you dead, so the investigation becomes much harder with shootouts, especially since bullets are limited and costly, that's why it's wise to avoid places where the affiliation that wants you dead hangs out.
Bullets aren't the only thing that can kill you however, hunger can as well, you have to manage your money to buy the right resources like lockpicks, bullets or food to survive, everytime you investigate or talk with someone you get hungrier until you die.
Some places need lockpicks to explore fully and you can even rob some places where hopefully you don't get spotted or you make another faction your enemy.
Everytime you start a new game, the culprit and the clues are randomized, as is the faction that hunts you down, the events of course are randomized too, as is the place you can find clues.
The gameplay is free and you can go whenever you want mostly, but you have a time limit in days to catch the culprit... or you might just go on a murder spree.
All in all this is a repeatable noir detective story with a great soundtrack and a great feel to it. Recommended, but might get old pretty fast.
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48 of 80 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 25, 2014
One dimensional, lacking in interest and overall disappointing game.

There's no real substance to the 'clues' or game mechanics, and there's nothing really detective-y about it. There are murders which produce crime scenes; this could have been cool - it could have featured a chalked out body with higher probability of clues, and witnesses to question. Instead, you get the same area, and gameplay simply boils down to pressing Z all over a few locations until you have enough clues to blame-by-logic.

Feels like an iPhone game, plays like a free flash tite.
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2014
Noir Syndrome isn't a terrible game, but it lacks in-depth gameplay. In this game, you solve cases by asking questions and finding clues, but the way you do so is redundant. How do you find clues? Rather than actually looking for a clue, you just press the 'Z' button whenever you stand near something interactable and hope you get lucky enough to get a clue. In other words, you don't find clues in this game; you just wait until the game decides to hand you a clue. How do you get information out of people? The same exact way. Press 'Z' and hope they give you information. No story, no dialogue options, just a 'Z' button. A successful detective game needs to make the player feel like they are actually solving the case themselves. Make them find the clues; make them interrogate suspects. Don't reduce everything a good detective game needs to one simple button. This game is playable, but the shallow gameplay will ultimately lead you to let the game sit in your library untouched for a long time.
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25 of 38 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 4, 2014
Incredibly simple but rather entertaining. Controls consist of but a few buttons and the gameplay really just consists of matching up clues with suspects. Not very deep or challenging at all but still fun.
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 7, 2014
You have two weeks before the mysterious killer known as Anubis assassinates the mayor. Ask around to find suspects, and narrow down your list by finding clues to the muderer's identity. Try to avoid the wrath of the police and the mob, because they'll kill you on sight. Or play the dinner party mode, where you're locked in with the killer, and the other guests occasionally go mad and kill you. Collect badges to level up your subsequent characters, and play on three difficulty modes, all of them challenging. Noir Syndrome is great fun with procedurally generated mysteries that usually don't last longer than ten minutes, but there are some obvious flaws.

Controls are fully rebindable, as they always should be in a PC game. There are only five action keys, but a couple would have been helpful. The "investigate" key handles all actions except shooting, which is quite annoying when someone is standing in front of an object you want to investigate or a door you want to enter, but the game insists on making you talk instead.

The interface is a bit clunky as well. Using multiple screens to try to manage a very small amount of information on the suspects is rather ridiculous. The game doesn't let you cross off suspects who don't match the clues you've gathered, and you can't un-designate a culprit once you've selected one (though you can change which one you'll arrest if you talk to him or her).

The tutorial is bare-bones; some will appreciate learning the mechanics on their own, but it would have been nice to learn more before being thrown into the game. On the whole, though, there's a lot of pixelly fun to be had here.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 11, 2014
This game has a great concept, but it unfortunately really falls short, almost feeling unfinished. The game has huge potential in its mechanics and the idea of procedurally generated mystery in general, but it needs the story element (the mystery genre's strength) to be interesting.

The atmosphere is enjoyable (the soundtrack and art style are very nice), but the gameplay totally took me out of the mood. At first, I completely didn't understand what I was supposed to be doing. It is not intuitive, and there isn't a very good introduction/explanation of the controls. You have to focus so much on figuring out how the game works that it's impossible to get immersed in it.

The story elements don't link up at all with the gameplay, which is a big part of why it's so confusing to figure out. For example, you're no more likely to find a clue at the crime scene than in ANY other place in the game. A lot of things feel very luck based, and it's frustrating to realize a lot of things you were trying to do were just a waste of time and resources. The game does give you a lot of freedom in what you can do, but there aren't logical consequences for every type of action.

Everything you do in the game is done the same way (selectively spamming the interact button until you have enough data) and then solving a simple Guess Who logic puzzle. Before you understand how it works, it's confusing and jarring, and once you do, it's overly easy. There are a lot of interesting elements (like hunger meter and managing resources, factions, etc.) but without narrative to contextualize them, they feel empty. It seems like the game is mostly figuring out how the game works, instead of actually playing the game.

The Dinner Party mode is a condensed version (1 night in a house vs. a week in the whole city), which I actually found a lot more enjoyable. There's more of a real-time pressure, and it's easier to get immersed because the investigative style makes more sense on this scale. The "madness" mechanic (essentially, the other characters will sometimes want to shoot you) makes you stay in the moment and keep moving throughout the house. However, again, once you figure out how it works, it gets old quick.

If I'm a little harsh on this game, it's because it has such fantastic potential and concept that got me really excited, and it simply doesn't deliver. I wish the devs kept it gestating a little longer, and spent as much time on integrating story as they did with coming up with (frankly really interesting) game mechanics. Yes, you can play over and over. Unfortunately, it doesn't really make you /want/ to.
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 11, 2015
The thing I really liked about this game, is that I as I got to understand the dynamics of the gameworld / exploration elements, I started finding the clues I needed faster, and succeeding more. Like Binding of Isaac, it's less about a single play that weaves a story, as the way different failures lead up to a run where everything falls into place, and you realize you've developed the skills to make use of it.

I would recommend this game, but be aware that the action and story elements are very minimalistic. Like a lot of classic and retro titles, it's the limits and balance of the game that make it a unique and enjoyable experience.
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Recently Posted
6.9 hrs
Posted: August 14
A cute and quick little procedurally generated detective game.
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0.7 hrs
Posted: August 2
*Simple mechanics
*Unique playthrough every time
*Nice art style, wish more variation in characters though
*Dinner party mode is the closest I will get to a SLEUTH remake from the DOS days

*Most run ins with the hitman for me ended in a stalemate of both of us dying
*Can be quite easy after a few cases as you tend to be able to see the pattern after a few suspects/evidence, so its only worth playing a case or two every once in a a while
*Your on the clock to solve with each new location taking a turn away. But your given plenty of time to find whodunit

*No really options menu to(music and sound on one setting)
*I had a high tendacy to screw up cases by shooting my gun accidently, as the investigate key and shoot keys are right next to each other
*Hunger mechanic is lame and adds nothing to the game

Verdict: A great game, that gives you a quick game of whodun it, but can become quite easy over time
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1.4 hrs
Posted: July 2
A unique rougelite investigative puzzler. Short playthroughs that vary from one another, sort of. It's a neat concept and done fairly well, but it gets pretty repetitive and the gameplay leaves a bit to be desired. If the devs take this and improve upon it for a sequel, it could be a great game. If you like puzzles and noir detectives, go for it.
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Gut Lord
2.7 hrs
Posted: February 10
Procedurally generated Clue or Guess Who. That's a simple way to put it.

Find the culprit in a set amount of time. Travel the map, touch all the things that are touchable. Things in the environment might yield items, clues or money. NPCs will either say something irrelevant to your progress, give you a clue or sell you something.

Once you've collected enough clues, you check your handy-dandy detective book and do some good ol' fashioned detecting. All clues you've collected tell you two POSSIBLE things about the killer. Maybe they're in the "mob" or a "civilian", an artist or a PC gamer, a man or a gender-fluid teenager. The more clues, the more chance you have of honing in on the killer.

And that's Noir Syndrome's main problem...there's no real challenge to be had. It's easy to master the game's mechanics in a few sessions and get lost in some of the challenges that reward you with character unlocks (in the form of more starting money, more bullets, more enjoyability, etc.), but it all becomes really boring and repetitive after your tenth playthrough.
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Ey,Don't Act Dumb
9.0 hrs
Posted: January 16
+Good Time Killer
+Can play on any computer
+Interesting gamemodes

-The game becomes easy very quickly on easier gamemodes.
-Very repetitive
-Really not that much content in the game as it was abandoned. Only updates from the dev are when the sales come, and that's just him reminding us that it's on a discount.



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Liam Duncan
1.4 hrs
Posted: January 6
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Orange Jews
4.1 hrs
Posted: January 4
I don't know why I bought this. This game sucks ♥♥♥. A shame, since it's a nice concept.
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4.8 hrs
Posted: December 4, 2015
Go around the city and find the killer. Reminds me of 'Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?' but with a bit more depth. While every case is short and randomly generated, it loses a star for a somewhat confusing gameplay interface and being written in Java (where i need to install Java SE to play -- yuck!).
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3.1 hrs
Posted: November 27, 2015
Not the best port (it's ported from Android, possibly iOS), but still a solid time-waster.
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