Puzzle games come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they're straight forward, sometimes they're apps, and sometimes they're hidden within third person adventure titles. James Noir's Hollywood Crimes wraps up your average puzzle quest, all with a classic murder mystery movie wrapper. Many of the puzzle games are recognizable, but because of the storyline, it makes the puzzles far more important to the player unlike the usual puzzle game.
Basically you take the role of a game show contestant who's competing for a chance to take a trip around the world. However, things get a bit dicey when an old friend asks you to help him solve a case involving a serial killer who plants puzzles in/around each of his victims. You're asked to help due to being a seasoned puzzle expert. As the story moves on, you're thrown into a flurry of twists and turns that keep you gripped right until the very end. Since you're playing the puzzle game show, while you're solving the crime, a lot of the puzzles go hand in hand which meshes the line between the two. This makes it feel more like a mystery novel then just your average puzzle game collection title.
Puzzle games can tend to be a bit redundant, however, as James Noir's Hollywood Crimes allows the player to choose which puzzles they would like to solve in a Jeopardy-like fashion. In the game show portions of the game, the player needs to choose from about 15 different puzzles with varying point values in order to move forward to the next round. Each round the puzzles are a bit different and a little bit harder. You can be as varied as you'd like or equally as repetitive. The only times where you have a restricted amount of choice is during story related puzzles, but James Noir has a fan letter system where depending on how many points you obtained in the game show, that's how many fan letters you will receive which then turn into hints in the story mode. The fan letters don't have to be used right away and they can pile up. This is extremely helpful when going through the later parts of the games where puzzles aren't necessarily clear.
The nice thing about this title is that it never really loses the plot. It's always entertaining and pretty addicting. Variety is something that always seems to plague games of this nature, but James Noir never really felt repetitive. Each puzzle felt fresh and exciting and it's nice that if you can't finish certain puzzles in the game show mode, you can choose a different one. With all that being said though, Noir does have a weird thing about the points system. If you complete a round in three turns, you will not be able to beat your opponent's score. Even though the game puts you into the next round anyways for hitting the base score, it's still frustrating that you can't beat your opponent when you do well. The only time you're able to get the high score is if you don't reach the base score within 3 tries, i.e. you fail on purpose. If you're just short of the base score, you can play a fourth round which will set you well over the opponent's score - rather silly.