Thank you Calvino Noir Limited for sending us this game to review!
Calvino Noir takes place in a European crime infested city in the 1930s. The main character is Wilt who’s a mercenary by trade and gets wrapped up in a revolution that puts his life and the lives of his friends in danger.
There are three main characters with different abilities that come in handy during this five-hour adventure. Wilt’s ability is to take down guards, but I never figured out how to do so before getting shot on sight. Sadly, this game has no tutorial or instructions of any sort. While Calvino Noir prides itself on the choice of stealth or brute force, I was only given the one option since I couldn’t figure out the other!
In this grayscale 2D adventure game, you have to examine your surroundings and make your way to various checkpoints to progress the story. While some of the checkpoints are supposedly timed, I never ran into a problem of being late to meet any of the deadlines. The guards patrolling the areas with guns and flashlights will slow down your progress.
There are often rooms, stairs, and floor hatches to hide from their vision range. Sneaking up on the guards is difficult as they can become alarmed from noises you make. They have indicator bars above their head to let you know if they are in an alert state. Their patterns are generally predictable, but dealing with multiple guards is tricky at times.
In the beginning you’ll get to switch between Wilt and a mole character whose ability is to bypass guards. Other abilities of your friends include picking locks and operating machinery. By using a flashlight in the levels you can locate coins which can be spent on boosting the stealth and speed stats of each playable character.
Upon starting the game you’ll be mesmerized with the dark visuals, thunderstorm sound effects and the good narration. The voice acting is well done and describes the desolate state of the city Wilt lives in. Wilt gets his first mission at a nearby bar where the bartender offers him some evening company if he desires it. Aside from the alcohol and prostitution references you can expect to hear some foul language and take part in violent acts.
At first Calvino Noir seems well polished but then reality sets in when nothing is explained to you and you’re not clear on what all of the buttons do in this game. I have figured out that the triangle button lets you switch characters and the square button activates the flashlight. In order to have your friend follow you, you’ll have to press the circle button. Last but not least is the X button which interacts with various objects to investigate or use them.
A simple task of navigating stairs takes multiple tries with the clunky controls. They probably work fine with the touch controls on the iOS version, but for PC and console users they’re frustrating. The price is inconsistent as well. The PS4 version is more than $20 more than the iOS version which sells for $3.99. The Steam version is a more reasonable $6.99.
Given the short amount of gameplay and frustrating controls, I don’t recommend paying the inflated price on PlayStation store. If you have an iPad, Calvino Noir is worth checking out for $3.99 and it may be worth picking up on a PSN or Steam sale if it’s cheap enough.