In the tradition of classic hidden object games, Noir Chronicles: City of Crime brings with it a game unlike its predecessors, however, with a dark, grittier twist. The game leans more on the realistic side of game design, as opposed to other titles by the developer, and this shows in the themes and art style. While the science being used is made up, many of the concepts are not, and the way you solve most puzzles is by actual ingenuity rather than using mystical pieces. This makes the color palette more subdued, while still using plenty of variety. The different settings look like places one might go and visit, if one were a detective of course.
Speaking of the plot, the game starts not with the main character, but the villain. While his identity is unknown to you, you do see him reading an article written by someone named Barbara, and he’s not too happy about it. Things escalate quickly as he sends his most trusted goon to outright kill her over what she wrote. Moments later you’ll be introduced to Alfred Fox, the main character of the story, having a nap on his office couch. It’s an interesting twist of expectations since protagonists in these games tend to look like Barbara, not Alfred.
His resting won't last however as he gets a desperate call from Barbara, saying that she’s in danger. Alfred rushes out of the office as fast as he can, and he takes a taxi to her house. This is where you take control, and what follows is a rollercoaster of a mystery filled with double-crossing, backstabbing, and a fair share of twists. Not to mention the myriad of puzzles you’ll have to solve on the way.
Gameplay-wise, the game is divided into different maps, and each one has plenty of objects to collect and plenty more that need to be unlocked. You do this by getting the right object for the job or solving a puzzle to get it. Sometimes you have to do both. You keep trying to match the object with the interactable area until you unlock a new section. Some objects can be combined with others, while other objects need a set amount before they can be used.
The puzzles you need to solve are very varied and challenging, and if you get too stuck you can wait for the “skip” button to charge so you can move on with the story. How fast said button takes to charge depends on the difficulty setting chosen at the beginning of the game, which is also the case for the “hint” a button that tells you where to go next in general gameplay. The only recurring puzzle is the last game, where you are given a list of items to find in a very cluttered scene.
You just need to click the item listed on the list, yet some of them might require more interactions, like opening a drawer. If you get stuck here, you can choose to use the previously mentioned “hint” button, or opt out from the “list” gameplay altogether and play an image-matching minigame instead. Whatever you choose, your reward is a single item to use elsewhere.
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The character design is well-made. All characters are fully voice-acted, and they even have lip sync to go with each line. While the rest of the character is not animated, there is enough suggestion to suspend one’s disbelief and get immersed in the story. A small but clever detail is how characters do not simply slide things into your inventory, they hand them to you and you have to click on them to get it.
The visual presentation is incredible, with each character being very detailed in their clothing and personality, making it easy to understand the role each plays in the story. This little detail makes the game much more engaging and realistic in a gaming sense, allowing players to feel more connected to the game.
Noir Chronicles: City of Crime is a fun and intriguing thriller that will hook you with its story and innovative puzzles. The very well-realized character designs and voice acting will have you unable to drop the game until the very end, just like any good tale should. Overall, it’s a combination of the best elements that a hidden object game should have and the game has executed it perfectly.
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If you enjoy these free games, you will love this list of our 10 Best Hidden Object Games!