Calvino Noir

A game that’s just a bit… grey

Mac Format - - RATED -

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.

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