James Noir's Hollywood Crimes

Common Sense Media says

Intriguing puzzle-based whodunit with mild violence.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game highlights the advantages of problem-solving -- and how a keen mind can be critical to catching criminals. 

Positive role models

The game's host is encouraging on air and other characters rely on your puzzle-solving prowess to solve a series of murders. 

Ease of play

The puzzles range from easy to difficult, but there are ample hints to help -- and the game will solve many for you, though doing so will cost you hints. 


The game features a series of murder mysteries during which bodies are shown, including one that is swinging from a noose. A character also gets knocked out and a man uses wires to stun a character. There is no blood, however. 

Not applicable

A producer uses the words "ass" and "dammit". 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters meet for drinks after the show in a bar. 

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that James Noir's Hollywood Crimes is a puzzle-solving game wrapped around a whodunit mystery. The game has occasional rough language and features some mild of violence, such as a body hanging from a noose and a character getting knocked out, but it is no more violent than a movie from the 1960s. The focus is on solving brainteasers, not action. 

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What's it about?

As a contestant on the 1960s television game show "The Incredible Puzzle Masters," you compete to solve a series of brainteasers to win a "trip around the world". After filming each episode, though, you are asked to assist police as they explore a series of murders to previous winners of the show. At each crime scene is a series of puzzle clues you'll be asked to figure out. 

Is it any good?


JAMES NOIR'S HOLLYWOOD CRIMES isn't a great game, per se, but it's one that has that magical quality of wanting to play just one more round. The puzzles are intriguing and the game show motif it uses (along with lots of audio and Max Headroom-like animations) is oddly captivating. The story itself isn't especially interesting, though -- and even with the threats you'll face, there's not a real sense of urgency to the game. The juxtaposition of leisurely puzzle-solving and catching a serial killer is an awkward concept that never quite gels. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the best way to solve a particular puzzle. What is it about puzzle games that you like? 

  • Families can also discuss how jealousy can drive people to do bad things.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 1, 2011
ESRB rating:T for Mild Language, Mild Violence (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of James Noir's Hollywood Crimes was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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