In the great city of Ankh-Morpork, the citizens only turn to one man to help solve mysterious crimes: Detective Lewton. Actually, he's the only one they can turn to -Lewton is Discworld first and only private investigator. Discworld Noir is an alternate story line that is set between the events of Feet of Clay and Jingo. Here, players get to experience an all new, all different Discworld. The game ventures into completely new areas of Ankh-Morpork and introduces new characters. There are a few familiar sights and faces for fans of the books, but for the most part, Noir, is its own unique game.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld is an insanely amazing story universe. It is funny, it has a deep and rich mythos, the characters are so downright hilarious yet realistic, and best of all, there is plenty of room in the realm of Discworld for games like Noir. Discworld Noir is quite unlike the books. Sure, it shares the same storytelling beat that Pratchett set, but game designer Chris Bateman has followed the 'noir' genre's staples for the game. This means that compared to the books, the games is a lot darker in terms of visuals and delivery.
Getting along with lead character Lewton is easy, he is a walking archetype of all noir detectives -down the trench coat. It is an intentional homage, as audience familiarity with Lewton's personality and character provides a solid anchor that will hold down their sense of disbelief from getting swept away by Discworld's high levels of surreal and crazy. And the game certainly brings the best of feelings that the books incite. The story and visuals never fail to constantly remind the audience that this is not reality and it is not the real world we live in, but the character reactions and behaviors are so engaging and organic that it is easy to get caught in the flow (which, from a narrative perspective, is a really strong point in both the books and the game).
Fans of the books should not worry about the story's respect for the source material. The way that the story and dialogue is delivered is pretty much done in the same style, except that it has got a little noir-ish edge to everything. This Discworld is just a few shades darker than what most fans are used to -and it works. Lewton is not your typical Discworld character (then again, nothing is typical in a flat world carried by elephants on a turtle).
Discworld Noir is a classic point and click game, and we mean that literally. You move your mouse and click on stuff: items to pick up, directions to move to, dialogue decisions, and pretty much everything else. You have a lot of controller input, but in the end, minimal actual influence over what happens, and for the most part, you play the role of a slightly interactive audience. In a way, this entire game genre is a precursor to today's more cinematically inclined QTA-based games.
Not to say it is not fun, putting two and two together, like using a matchbook to prove that someone is lying, or plotting down the Eight Great strategies to find the location of the next murder in the pattern, makes for a very satisfying kind of gameplay.
It is easy to tell that this game was released quite a long time ago (1999 to be exact), and while it never got a local release in the United States, it has a pretty decent following of fans (obviously, thanks to the fact that this is still part of the Discworld series -even if Pratchett thinks of it as an alternate storyline). But even by itself, Discworld Noir is a pretty good game. At the time it was released, it was praised heavily by critics and fans. The visuals and audio hold up well even until today -while the graphics are dated, they have that distinctive, polished look that makes every jagged edge seem intentional. The music is just as good, the soundtrack feels very characteristic of the game, and the voice overs for the dialogue makes you forget that it was mostly done just by four talented individuals. In the end, Discworld Noir is a fun game that is great for fans of the detective genre. It focuses on the mystery behind the main plot and while it strays around a lot, it always manages to get back on track (like a really drunk train). And that, makes for a very entertaining gaming experience.
'Machinarium pushes the boundaries when it comes to what we know about traditional point and click titles. First, it has no dialogue save for a few text tidbits at the start. Its puzzles are confined to a single screen, and it's not afraid to lend a hand when needed. It's different, and it's infinitely more interesting because of it. To sum it up, Machinarium is one of those rare games that brilliantly executes radical ideas.'