A game that’s just a bit… grey
Though many games go for a film noir feel, very few manage to pull it off successfully, often just putting any old detective story in a monochrome environment and calling it a day.
Calvino Noir is one of the better attempts at hitting that noir-inspired atmosphere – not just its rain-soaked black-and-white stylings, which plays with 3D perspective and light to great effect, but also its cast of characters of questionable trustworthiness and unsure motivations. You play as private investigator Wilt, who finds that a simple job will suck him into something much larger.
The actual game involves sneaking Wilt (and other characters he teams up with) though 2D scrolling levels, avoiding detection while investigating suspicious doings. Control is handled with a kind of point-and-click interface, and unfortunately this is Calvino Noir’s main stumbling block. Moving multiple characters around a level means a lot of switching and tapping, and in carefully timed stealth sections, it’s often clumsy and irritating. There are many parts of levels that are just a pain to get past without dying, rather than ever being fun or empowering. At times, it’s fine, but often it feels like far too much hard work.
The story (you get a third for the price – the rest is unlocked through in-app purchases) comes in dialogue dotted throughout the levels, fully voice acted and with some multiple choice responses for Wilt. But it tries way too hard to be “hard-boiled,” frequently leaving us rolling our eyes at both the lines and their delivery.
Indeed, the experience overall is just too easily forgettable. For all its promise, it has too many flaws to be a must-have game. Matt Bolton
Calvino Noir is certainly a beautiful-looking stealth detective game, but it just isn’t as fun to play as it should be.
Calvino Noir specialises in dramatic locations and gravelly-voiced needless verbal sparring.