Madrid Noir Review - Basically a VR Play
Updated: Jul 7
Madrid Noir is a VR-exclusive... thing. It calls itself a movie, but since the set is 3D and it occasionally needs your input, I wouldn't call it one. It's also hard to call a game since it'll carry on without you doing anything for the vast majority of the run time and the interactivity is very limited even when it is present. To me, it feels most like some kind of small-production stage play that involves the audience. It's about the same length as a lot of plays, has an intermission, and most of the scenes take place in sets that look an awful lot like a stage. It certainly has a lot of aspects of games and movies as well, but I think it's easiest to say you'll enjoy it if the idea of a 45 minute play is appealing to you.
Unsurprisingly, there's almost nothing to talk about in terms of gameplay. You get to move objects around to progress the story a couple of times, but otherwise your interactivity is limited to choosing where to look and throwing objects around without being acknowledged at all. It does at least look quite nice, though. The sets are very detailed and the cartoony art style fits the game well. Although it obviously draws heavily from the noir genre, many scenes also evoke classic cartoons.
Does it benefit from being VR-exclusive? Yes and no. It's fun to be able to look around and it definitely has some set pieces that would be nearly impossible to reproduce on a real stage, but there's also nothing that stands out as specifically requiring VR. It might have been a little bit less immersive as a regular non-VR game, but I suppose it would have been harder to justify the price tag that way.
Lastly, the story. It's hard to say much about this without getting into spoilers since the story is so short. The protagonist tells you about the summer she spent in Madrid with her shady uncle. She starts trying to piece together what he's up to, and eventually noir things happen. It has a couple of clever moments and is generally well-told.
This would be a somewhat difficult sell for $9 as a regular game, but the novelty of VR and the fact it goes on sale for much cheaper makes it an easier recommendation. If any of this sounds appealing, you're only risking a few bucks and 45 minutes to find out if you like it. I'd say that's worth a look.
Time to beat: 45 minutes.
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