While on the surface, Norco might seem a fairly traditional point-and-click adventure title, this would do a gross disservice to what the game actually has to offer. A grungy, dystopian, post-capitalist mining town, Norco, Louisiana is a bleakly beautiful setting for a brilliant story.
Offering a unique cross-pollination of religious and scientific imagery, the game sees you taking on the mantle of Kay. Kay is a woman returning to Norco, the town she grew up in, hoping to locate her missing brother, Blake, in the wake of her mother's death.
While unraveling this mystery, expect to be treated to a number of satisfying puzzles, and even more satisfying writing. The writing in the game is exceptional. Each and every passage is oozing with character and wit, as well as an odd beauty. The prose, even during innocuous situations, has a poetic lilt to it, making for one of the most satisfyingly written games we've seen this side of Disco Elysium. And also like that title, Norco has a deliciously wicked sense of humour, often finding reason to laugh amidst the bleak scenarios. We don't want to spoil any of the situations you can look forward to, but be prepared to feel a variety of emotions.
The writing isn't holding the game aloft all on its lonesome, however. The art direction is exquisite, depicting lushly detailed pixelated environments, delivering both beauty and grotesquerie around every corner. The music is fantastic as well, delivering a chameleonic score, easily adapting to all the wild swings in tone that the game has in store.
In fact, the only area where it lets itself down is the UI. Games that use a cursor on console are starting on the back foot to begin with, but navigating what you can interact with is a particular nuisance in Norco. The cursor is fond of resetting, so you have to drag it all the way across the screen often, it's very easy to accidentally repeat dialogue choices, and sometimes it takes a few tries to hover over something before the interaction prompt actually shows up. Apart from this, the game offers a rich, fulfilling experience that you should try to experience as soon as you possibly can.