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 (145 reviews) - 68% of the 145 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 2, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"Procedural story generation and permanent choices means this game would be very interesting to fans of decision-based interactive narative."

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June 11

Steam Summer Sale

Noir Syndrome is 50% off for the duration of the Steam Summer Sale! This is a great opportunity to pick up the game for just a few bucks. Have fun with the rest of the sale everyone!


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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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL-Compatible
    • Additional Notes: Requires Java 1.6+
Helpful customer reviews
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 11
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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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 19
I got tricked into buying this on a sale, only to find it's a bad port of a mobile game. Interesting concept, poorly executed.

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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
14.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 6
It's a fairly simple game of Clue. You find clues about the murderer while staying alive yourself. I liked the game but expected a little more from it in the long run. Replayability is mediocre and that's too bad.

Subjective: ★★★★☆
Objective: ★★★★★ — Graphics: ★★★ — Content: ★★☆ — Handling: ★★★
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75 of 87 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
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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56 of 71 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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