Meet me at NooN is an unassuming little title I came across while looking for games to review. Though I fell on hard times, without a computer to play it on for several years, the game never really left my mind. So much so, it’s one of the first things I downloaded to my PC! Its sweet little celestial hourglass characters were so memorable in their uniqueness that my eyes lit up when I saw the title in my Steam library again.

Pandaroo Interactive developed & published the game back in 2022 to and Steam. On the surface, “simple” is the appropriate word, so much so that Pandaroo offers a free version that runs in browser. But let’s not assume this game is one note. Appropriately, the following was its inception…

“The starting idea was: what would be the movie Tenet if it was a puzzle game?”

So the core concept, not quite so esoterically portrayed as the 2020 Nolan film, is the effect of moving backwards in time with forward thinking. To clarify, you move forward and then take actions coinciding with that forward in reverse. This may sound a little paradoxical, however Meet me at NooN manages to make the idea comprehensible. This is thanks to its simple art style and storytelling. From the start, I was very much reminded of Pikuniku, another dual-wielding cutesy puzzle game with a unique narrative. While Devolver Digital’s indie adventure features a not-so-subtle plot surrounding the fight against industrialization, Meet me at NooN more so evokes a similar feeling to Journey, wherein its Traveler-like characters don’t have their story told with words.

The story of this game is closer to yet another adorable puzzle game I tried out called InBento. As endearing as it was, being a story about a mother cat making bento for her kitten, I have to admit I lost interest quickly. Meet me at NooN, by contrast, kept me hitting Next Level, Next Chapter. I wondered what that hook was that InBento lacked. Perhaps it was the simple, visually intuitive ability to backtrack? For whatever reason, correcting my mistakes in InBento felt more tedious, mostly because it felt like a chore to disassemble my meals and remake them. 

By design, Meet me at NooN gives you a more instantaneous chance to reevaluate. What makes that a little more unique is the way you have to navigate the Day character going in reverse at night. Matching this, the Night character moves forward during the day cycle.
Initially, this parallel didn’t come up and I all but forgot about it after the tutorial; And that is precisely where things got interesting. The game, like most, scales upward in its complexity as you progress. In this case, the day and night cycles begin to become back to back segments in a single stage. 

Despite its relatively simple design, I commend Meet me at NooN for seamlessly introducing its mechanics in such a way that the progression felt organic. As the gameplay unfolded, so too did the challenge in such a strangely relaxing yet satisfying way. In fact, I found myself smiling every time I completed a stage!

Meet me at NooN is a gently-paced game with such fascinating puzzles, testing your strategic skills against a beautifully simple backdrop and dreamy music. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a cozy game with just the right amount of difficulty to keep your mind occupied, day or night.

Meet me at Noon is available for free to play in browser or for $9.99 on Stream or