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Norco makers’ new game Silenus lets you boogie in a gothic industrial hellscape


A large industrial towers stretches towards a dark sky in Silenus
Image credit: Geography of Robots

The music in haunting 2D adventure Norco was so good it’s one of the few soundtracks I’ve actually bought on Steam, so I’m deeply intrigued to learn that developer Geography of Robots are putting music - and dancing - front and center in the new demo for their next project, Silenus. You can bop your way between screens, reader!

Swapping out Norco’s Southern gothic for techno industrial (also somewhat gothic) vibes, Silenus offers the chance to “uncover the secrets of an oil refinery operated by an obscure organization in this short, atmospheric narrative adventure.” Don’t take my word about Steam’s word about the developer’s word on it, though, that’d be sheer madness. There’s a free demo available. I initially thought the choice to name it the ‘Umbilical Pre-Release Demo’ was just the devs being arty. But it actually refers to the album Umbilical from contributors Thou, who did loads of Norco’s soundtrack. By playing the demo, you’ll be able to unlock the entire album to listen to in-game. Creatives creatively boosting the creative work of other creatives? What is this, some sort of good timeline?

Here are some more Steam deets:

Rubens Link, an enigmatic company with an unclear agenda, has taken control of the Gulf Flow oil refinery. Officially, they're introducing new automation technologies, but the changes they've implemented suggest something more confounding. In this narrative micro-adventure, you play as Titian, Rubens Link's flagship android. Explore the refinery’s machinery, tank farms, and offices, deciphering clues from computer logs, discarded journals, and the remnants of vanished workers. Solve puzzles, absorb the atmospheric soundscapes of FmAura & Gewgawly I, interact with unique characters, and wander deeper down the rabbit hole of Gulf Flow Oil.

I was going to do a bit about ‘Reuben’s link’ but I already linked the demo. Not a massive loss for comedy, honestly. For what it’s worth, I loved Norco to haunted little bits. It was a brilliantly written 2D adventure set in South Louisiana that makes me want to use words like 'hauntological' and such. Silenus is in 3D and takes a completely different visual approach, but as much as I’d have eaten up another offering in Norco’s vein, it’s great to see Geography of Robots not pigeonholing themselves this early. Silenus is currently “very early in development”, which gives you enough room to go play Norco. Twice!

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