James Noir's Hollywood Crimes

Game review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
James Noir's Hollywood Crimes Game Poster Image
Intriguing puzzle-based whodunit with mild violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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. 


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters meet for drinks after the show in a bar. 

What 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. 

Talk to your kids 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
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: November 1, 2011
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Mild Violence
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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