Skip to content

Backbone: detective raccoon in dystopia

I’ve often lamented about how the quality of Kickstarter campaigns varies considerably. Some end up producing titles which make me proud to be a backer, and others make me feel like hanging my head in shame or hitting it against a wall.

But that’s the joy and risk of crowdfunding: you have to take the rough with the smooth and look forward to those moments where more than one worthwhile campaign appears on your radar. This is just what happened to me when I was browsing through the platform one evening recently. Backbone by EggNut and 1980X by Hi-Bit Studios are both very different in terms of their stories and gameplay, but look so amazing I couldn’t resist making a pledge towards each.

The former is a dystopian noir adventure set in Vancouver, where players step into the shoes of private investigator Howard Lotor. The Kickstarter page tells of a ‘challenging, thought-provoking storyline featuring themes of power, corruption, social decay and systemic discrimination’ and ‘how our environment shapes us, and how we influence it in return’. Howard’s life is interrupted with the appearance of a powerful technology that can blur the lines of conventional order and change society forever.

Besides the fact that the protagonist is an anthropomorphic raccoon and the game makes use of lovely pixel art, the thing that appealed to me the most about this one was the description of the gameplay. In your role of detective it’s necessary to collect evidence, interrogate witnesses, connect the dots and follow leads; you’re able to move forward by your own rules as each case has numerous trails and it’s up to you to decide which to follow.

Smell is the most powerful sense in the animal world and Howard will be putting it to good use in Backbone. He must hide in multi-level environments and mask his scent using garbage bins, allowing him to stealthily follow suspects through hostile locations or quickly evade his pursuers. He’ll also be making use of ‘The Artifact’ if he can learn how to use it: a mysterious object which, looking at the promotional video, appears to give our protagonist special abilities such as the use of a mutated bear claw.

It’s pretty obvious how much I love pixelated graphics and the developers have put a lot of effort into the visual style for their game. They call it a ‘modern take on the classical retro adventure look’ and it has such a lovely, moody quality about it – check out the image below. The lighting, lens flares, dust particles and neon signs all add to Backbone’s cinematic feeling, and I can’t wait to get the opportunity to explore the dark and overgrown alleys of Vancouver.

Backbone, video game, Kickstarter, GIF, Howard, raccoon, detective, city, rain, street, pedestrians

And I’m not the only one, as Luke from Hundstrasse recently revealed he’d also become a backer for the project. It was more than successful in meeting its fundraising target of $63,000: the campaign hit over 150% of this goal by the deadline at the end of May. We’ve now just got to wait until July 2019 to get our hands on the game; and if this post has piqued your interested in Harold’s world, you could consider pre-ordering the title.

There’ll be a post next week about the 1980X Kickstarter campaign, so stay tuned if an ‘over-the-top arcade action meets coming-of-age drama’ release which ‘blurs the lines between game and reality’ sounds like your kind of thing. In the meantime, head over to the Backbone official website to find out more about EggNut’s project.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

6 thoughts on “Backbone: detective raccoon in dystopia Leave a comment

  1. Backbone looks interesting, but probably isn’t something I’d go for. 1980X though! That’s something I did take a look at and I’m quite looking forward to!


    • I think I’m the opposite: Backbone is more my game than 198X. But I loved the artwork and I’m really intrigued to see how the developers are going to combine all the different gameplay styles, so it was definitely worth a pledge.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I absolutely adore the look of this game and backed it with no hesitation. It reminds me of both the Blacksad and Grandville graphic novels (which are so damn amazing!)


    • I’m a bit of a pixel addict, so combine it with the adventure genre and it’ll be sure to get my attention! Throw in a raccoon detective too and how could you refuse?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While I’m not the biggest fan of pixel art, this looks great and I’m down for a game featuring a talking raccoon detective.


Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: