James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D – Review


Title: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D

Genre: Puzzle

System: 3DS

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

In the past few years since the European release of Professor Layton and the Curious Village in 2008, puzzle and detective games have become increasingly popular. In fact the puzzle genre has never been so popular since the days of Tetris. Ubisoft combines the success of the puzzle genre with a vintage 1960s style design in order to create James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D, but is the game missing a piece of the jigsaw?

The storyline follows a TV puzzle show called the Puzzle Masters Show, which you (the player) are a contestant on. However, the TV show is in connection with a serial killer, who has been targeting past winners of the programme, and leaving puzzles at the crime scene. Your old friend, who is now an FBI agent hunts you down, and asks you to help him with the investigation, solving puzzles and at the same time keeping you safe, as you may be the killer’s next target.

Hollywood Crimes 3D revolves around you as the player from the very start, asking your name, taking a photo of you and constantly embarrassing you by displaying your photo at every given opportunity (for example, you will see the photo of you as a reflection in your dressing room mirror). Unfortunately I decided to boot up Hollywood Crimes 3D for the first time at 4am, which is not a wise decision when you’re clad in PJs, messy hair and no make-up and are asked to have a photo taken. For these reasons, I will not post the screenshot!

The dialogue and style in general is all very cheesy, but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing! While the story is not completely captivating, it gives a greater motivation to play through the game than most of the DS puzzle titles which line the shelves these days. While the gameplay would be considered reasonably short (between 5-6 hours), it’s no Skyrim – and therefore you shouldn’t expect to be glued to it for hours on end! It’s what I refer to as a ‘pick-up-and-play’, a title that will keep you entertained for half an hour before bed.

Whilst the style of Hollywood Crimes 3D is refreshing, sadly the cut and pasted video clip style acting is not, as you can even see white pixels outlining some of the characters and objects. It’s as if the images have been cut out directly from Microsoft Paint!

What Ubisoft does well in Hollywood Crimes 3D, is provide the player with a rich and plentiful amount of puzzles to ponder over, all using the 3DS’ 3D capabilities very well. While some of the puzzles are very similar, this does not hinder the enjoyment (and at some points frustration) of each one, as on hearing the lovely little jingle when you correctly finish a puzzle is very rewarding, especially if you’ve been stuck on it for a while.

Hollywood Crimes 3D caters for all levels of players, providing both easy and hard puzzles for the player to resolve. If you ever get stuck on any puzzles, the game also provides hints, however I often found these a little too cryptic and unhelpful. While there are many puzzles in the game, the actual storyline only requires you to do a third of them, with the rest as bonus puzzles for when you finish the main game, providing you with little motivation to complete them all.

Conclusion

While the puzzles in Hollywood Crimes 3D are interesting enough, and the game oozes 1960s style, it just doesn’t quite crack the whole look, which is a real shame. Had Ubisoft smoothed out some of the white pixelated edges, and filled out the story a little to cover more of the extra puzzles, we could have had a cracking 3D puzzle game. However, Hollywood Crimes 3D is definitely still worth a try if you see it in the sale this winter.

Katy’s score – 6/10

Quickfire Review: Some great 3D puzzles, a quaint 1960s style, but could have done with a few more gameplay and visual retouches before the release. Looks like Professor Layton is still top dog in the puzzling genre.

James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D is Out Now!

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