Like words? Play with simile and metaphor in this unusual mystery app

patanoir cover

PataNoir is a neat new interactive fiction game from Simon Christiansen. Although as expected you read text and then type commands on your phone or tablet, there's a twist: if the game makes a metaphor or simile, you can treat it as true. Shadows like pools of oil? There is oil for you to take. Your revolver is like a trusty assistant—no, really, his name is Mr. Smith Wesson.

Christiansen says the game is a tribute to the hard-boiled metaphors of noir fiction, and in the game you play a detective manipulating language to solve the mystery of a Baron's missing daughter. It's great fun for anyone who loves wordplay, but the clear rule structure also makes it appealing for people who find the traditional opacity of other parser-based text games to be a little ruthless.


The mobile app version of PataNoir is $2.99 on iOS, Google Play or Kindle Fire; it adds new illustrations and music. The original text-only version was a 2011 Interactive Fiction Competition entry and can be played on a computer for free if you have the appropriate text game interpreter. Links to all versions can be found here.

Notable Replies

  1. Is this the only game like this, or is there an entire genre I did not know exists? Because this looks right up my alley.

  2. gwwar says:

    It's one of the oldest types. Try for a starting point.

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