You’re not special. You’re not a hero. Thrust into unfortunate circumstances, you find yourself with no other option than to unravel what might be your biggest case yet.
There is no choice. We change, but we change nothing. Get to work, detective.

Backbone is a post-noir narrative adventure. Become raccoon private eye Howard Lotor and explore dystopian Vancouver inhabited by animals as you uncover a deeply personal story of change and transformation.
Backbone is inspired by film noir, weird sci-fi, post-soviet aesthetics, modern political regimes, the works of Lynch and Kaufman, and existential philosophy of Sartre. It is a linear, cinematic narrative experience that subverts genre and challenges your perception of what it means to be a person.

Backbone’s gameplay is focused on storytelling and emotional expression, featuring rich and elaborate dialogues inspired by old school CRPGs, as well as exploration of the lush environments. The end of all things is inevitable, but defining which version of Howard Lotor reaches the conclusion is up to you.
As Howard, you will:
• Make meaningful connections with a diverse cast of characters in pursuit of truth
• Shape and express your identity through dialogue choices - decide what kind of person you want to be
• Explore and experience both downtrodden and flourishing districts of a strange, yet familiar version of Vancouver
• Come to terms with the universal pain of existence and loss
• Be a raccoon

Post-noir dystopia

Backbone’s Vancouver is a dangerous place, bleak and dreary, but not entirely without hope. It’s a tale of a cold and uncaring world, interspersed with genuine connections and a bruised but undying drive to make a difference. Everyone wants to change the world, but not always for the better.

Stunning visuals

The breathtaking combination of high-resolution pixel art and 3D effects like dynamic lighting, pouring rain, volumetric fog and neon lights bring the sprawling City to life. Visit iconic Vancouver locations like Gastown, Granville and Fairmont Hotel, reimagined in a world now inhabited by anthropomorphic animals.

Evocative and unforgettable soundtrack

Original doom jazz soundtrack by Danshin and Arooj Aftab features an innovative combination of classic jazz and electronic music. Backbone’s OST is expertly crafted to create a cinematic, atmospheric, and simply jaw-dropping soundscape that serves and enhances storytelling.
Minimum Requirements
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Multi-core 1.8GHz or faster
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 760 or equivalent
Storage: 1 GB available space
Recommended Specifications
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Multi-core 2.5GHz or faster
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 950 or equivalent
Storage: 1 GB available space
Minimum Requirements
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: 10.15 Catalina
Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000
Storage: 1 GB available space
Additional Notes: Apple M1 chipsets are not supported
Recommended Specifications
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: 10.15 Catalina
Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon Pro 560
Storage: 1 GB available space
Additional Notes: Apple M1 chipsets are not supported
  • Howard's journey ends far, far away from where it began and each step continuously develops the emotional investment for everyone in this world. While there are minor mechanical issues such as the "interact" input not always being immediately responsive, each element of Backbone is polished and expertly crafted. Backbone is a must-play GOTY contender that deserves every bit of mainstream recognition it receives, and exceeds the usual reach of its genre, making for a compelling experience that even those with little interest in point-and-click adventures will find difficult to put down.

  • Backbone features a compelling story and a well-realised post-noir dystopia, with engaging characters and some smart gameplay.

  • Backbone tells an enormous story within a tiny runtime, and it never feels like too much. New wonders, new horrors, and fresh plot twists are chucked your way with reckless abandon. Yet, you never feel too lost. A little lost, surely! All the better to capture that sense of dark waters closing overhead. Between the clever mechanics, the compelling narrative, and the gorgeous pixel art, there's a real fire lit beneath you from the very start. If you're looking for a detective story with glistening fangs, glittering eyes, and sharpened hooks, Backbone will be perfect for you.

  • Backbone is a good game that will disappoint some of its players. The world is engaging and the detective mechanics are limited but cool. A sequence at the end of Act III is one of the most stunning I have experienced in a video game, both from a narrative and presentation standpoint. The game also delivers on its tonal shift and twist and does things that a simple noir detective story could not. Backbone understands the value of good writing and works hard to make words matter. The development team has already said that it has more stories to tell in this universe and I very much want to see how they expand on the best elements of Backbone and how they can make the world even more intriguing.

  • Backbone’s narrative and character work are thrilling, complex, and thought-provoking, and the writing deserves all the praise it can get. That said, there is some feeling of the pacing being slightly off, since the final acts feel like they follow too quickly after the introductory ones. Whether it’s due to a lack of time or inspiration, the story could’ve done with at least two more chapters of narrative substance during the middle stretch. Any other issues I might raise with Backbone are mostly trivial. With its inspired script that accentuates themes of dystopia and desperation, this detective story delivers one of the most inspiring narrative-driven titles I’ve played in some time.

  • Backbone does both, striking a balance between nostalgic and new, breathing another breath of life into the genre with its gritty, sad grin. This 2D, sidescrolling, pixel-art noir is a short but solid adventure mystery with stunning visuals and meaningful characters.

  • Backbone is a simple game to play, meaning that the dialogue and theme development had to carry the experience. While the narrative rushes to an uneasy finish, the story gives you a lot of meat to sink your teeth into.

  • Part noir thriller, part rumination on the human condition, and part ... something else, Backbone is stylish through and through, presenting more questions than answers but brimming with vibrantly realised characters.

  • Even if it’s brief and falters during the third act, there’s no denying that Backbone is a truly gorgeous and captivating adventure, with an engrossing world that you’ll want to see even more of. It’s a unique mystery with a cast of amazing anthropomorphic animals that ends up going places players won’t expect, and it’s also one that’s likely worth revisiting after you’ve finished. There’s just a lot in here that truly excels in creating a unique twist on noir classics, and EggNut should pat themselves on the back for giving us another detective game that proves why many of them prefer to take the offbeat routes these days.

  • The ending left me with lots of questions, and I don’t invoke the names of Beckett and Kafka and Ballard lightly. I guess Lynch can go here too, as well as more modern writers like Atword, Ligotti, Butler, and Vandermeer: Backbone touches on the sort of existential uncertainty that these writers famously imbued their work with. It also made me think about the forces that push back against people’s herculean efforts to better their circumstances: be they inculcated beliefs from society, or perhaps even things that are more primordial than that. That’s perhaps the best praise I can give this game: that it’s going to sit festering in the back of my mind for a good long while.

  • I walked away from Backbone puzzled about the ending, and in truth, I was a little disappointed. The game kind of squandered the excellent setup it spent hours developing, but because the setup is so good, I don’t feel totally let down. I still enjoyed my time in this dystopian Vancouver populated by animals, and I would almost certainly play a sequel if one were ever developed. But there’s the rub. Backbone feels like it needs a sequel. The story just doesn’t feel complete right now, and given that the game is pretty short (you can probably beat it in about 5-7 hours), it’s hard for me to enthusiastically recommend it. If you’re still interested despite the issues I’ve outlined, make sure you’re prepared for an abrupt conclusion. If you’re on the fence, well… maybe wait for a sale.

  • Backbone dwells into the dark reality of a dystopian world full of corruption and injustice. Though the game has some gameplay issues and the story isn’t as long and well-paced as I had hoped, it brought a gorgeous cityscape with a comprehensive narrative. The dialogue is well-written, and the plot is greatly engaging, as it keeps you desiring to know what could happen next in the life of Howard Lotor.

  • CD-Action

    Backbone has far fewer puzzles and stealth sections than you might expect after finishing the brilliant first act, but it will still keep you engaged thanks to the quality of its storytelling. [09/2021, p.40]

  • Promising and lovely, Backbone can't live up to its stellar early chapters, but there's still a worthwhile experience contained within.

  • Backbone seduces you into its world with its incredible style and characters. I was shocked by the game's first major twist and didn't want to stop playing. The writing is a highlight, and the music is dazzling. I was a bit let down to discover that my choices had little impact on the game's narrative, and the conclusion left me with more questions than answers. I don't know if a sequel is on the horizon, but Backbone is an overall interesting game worth checking out.

  • Backbone is stylish but not exceptional. It’s a good time with an enjoyable story, but otherwise it’s just kind of routine. The visual style is great, but it’s offset by uneven audio design. There’s definitely a lot to love about Backbone, I just don’t feel it sticks the landing quite well. It will be worthwhile playing for most, but I’m more interested in what comes next from EggNut.

  • Edge Magazine

    This is a fine debut. Backbone uses its seductive looks to enrich a conceptually thoughtful and carefully plotted-out world, and delivers real surprises within a genre that is all about adhering to time-honoured conventions. [Issue#361, p.116]

  • Backbone is full of potential for greatness and makes a terrific first impression. With its compelling lead and supporting cast, and a fascinating setting full of tantalising lore and mysteries to solve, I spent most of my experience excited to find out where it was all leading. Unfortunately, much of the detective gameplay and plot start to come apart by the end, leading to an oddly inconclusive and unsatisfying conclusion.

  • Backbone presents the player with an intriguinging world, populated by interesting characters that drive it’s often depressing and strange story home to what feels like an eventually inevitable conclusion. It’s just a pity that the minute-to-minute gameplay is not only uninspired, but it’s also rather boring.

  • Backbone is an interesting 2.5D side-scrolling, noir, pixel-art adventure set in a dystopic Vancouver. You are a raccoon detective in a world where everyone is an animal.

  • Backbone is a grim, unhappy tale that didn't sate any of my hunger for a good murder mystery. However, if you are looking for a deeply interesting world with complex and unsettling themes which will stick with you, I'd still recommend you give it a go.

  • Backbone bites off far more than it can chew, with a completely out of nowhere twist in the third act, disregard of your choices, and a lack of resolution to any of its plot threads. While the promising story and gorgeous visuals had me hooked initially, the game tries to juggle too many things and ends up dropping all the balls.

  • Backbone starts off strong with an interesting premise and setting and tops off everything with great visuals. What starts as an intriguing detective story quickly loses its appeal, as it doesn't scratch more than the surface of its potential with a rather unsatisfying ending and a setting that is never explored to the extent that it likely deserves.

  • Quotation forthcoming.

  • Excellent visuals and a great soundtrack. However, in terms of gameplay it doesn't deliver what it promises while the story, although it starts with all the makings of something at least decent, loses its rhythm completely from the middle onwards.

  • Backbone gets off to a great start and it definitely has a lot to say. Great visuals and a stunning soundtrack made me want to give it the benefit of the doubt, to ignore its issues. As it goes on though, Backbone loses everything that made it interesting in its early hours. What replaces it is so different that its hardly even the same game. Different doesn’t have to mean bad, but the changes and ideas thrown around in the second half are too underdeveloped to overlook. Perhaps a sequel can allow the development team to further delve into its many themes. I liked enough of Backbone that for most of its running time I was enjoying myself. In its current state though, it’s hard to enthusiastically recommend.

  • With amazing art and music, Backbone has a killer introduction and a great vibe. Unfortunately, due to a dreadful turn in the narrative and underdeveloped gameplay, this is a classic case of style over substance.

  • Is Backbone worth a look? Yes, particularly if the idea of playing as an anthropomorphic animal appeals to you. There are times when it’ll have you on tenterhooks and there are several characters that are strong enough to stand out. It’s admirable that this was achieved on a small budget, but ultimately the developers have tried to cram too much in for Backbone to be truly successful.

  • I am disappointed by the mixed feelings I get from Backbone. It is absolutely worth a look solely on the merits of its audiovisual presentation, but its attempt to offer commentary or insight into the topics its narrative broaches repeatedly fall flat, particularly in the latter half. EggNut clearly has the goods in the art and music departments, so I would love to see what they can do with a stronger narrative in the future. If you do choose to give Backbone a shot, make sure to get the Artifact Edition, as it includes the wonderful soundtrack. 6/10 otters in 3-piece suits.

  • Backbone is a stylish game, which promising story with some interesting characters takes a disappointing turn by the third chapter. The plot was cut short, which only adds to the general disappointment.

  • Uncover a grim conspiracy and sweet-talk snooty bears in this genre-hopping indie game.

24.99 ₳ 11.87 ₳
Title: Backbone
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Released: 8 June 2021
Developer: Eggnut
Publisher: Raw Fury
  • Single-player
  • Steam Achievements
  • Steam Cloud
  • Full controller support
UI Audio Subs
Spanish - Spain
Simplified Chinese
Portuguese - Brazil
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