With Kentucky Route Zero finally released in full, another long-awaited adventure through American decay has caught my eye: Norco: Faraway Lights, a point-and-click mystery that takes place in a pixel art rendition of Louisiana's swamps, suburbs, and oil refineries—with robots.
As you search for your missing brother, you'll "bust into a refinery with your robot friends," "recruit a wild-eyed river dog," and "skulk around downtown New Orleans on a desolate weeknight," according to the Steam page (opens in new tab). A Norco demo has been around on itch.io (opens in new tab) for years, and the first act is finally scheduled to release this year.
Developer Geography of Robots (made up of pixel artist Yutsi and composer Gewgawly I (opens in new tab)) frequently posts art on Twitter (opens in new tab), where I noticed the game's progress. Whatever the pointing-and-clicking ends up being about, the art should carry Norco a long way. You can just about smell the air in its scenes, whose limited palettes seem to pop off the screen, radiating through the dithered skies.
I've dropped a few stills below, and you can see more on Steam (opens in new tab) and at Norco's official site (opens in new tab). There's no firm release date yet, but spring or summer of this year is the plan.
If the robot below's need of "semiotic weapons" is any indication, there's a whiff or two of cultural theory emanating from Louisiana's burning stacks, too.