Hollywood 61 (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 01.08.2010 4

Review for Hollywood 61 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Hollywood 61 was the only non-Nintendo-developed 3DS game that was actually playable at Nintendo’s Post-E3 showing down in London, UK recently. Where Capcom and Konami offered impressive interactive trailers of Resident Evil Revelations and Metal Gear Solid 3D: The Naked Sample respectively, Ubisoft opted for a more traditional demonstration.

Hollywood 61 is a mystery puzzle game with a ‘film noir’ vibe. Revealed as a game tuned towards being an interactive movie in E3 Press material, the short demo seemed to be going in that direction; as long as you are thinking B-movie rather than a blockbuster that matches up to its name. A few dialogue scenes with a man that looked like a cardboard standee, popping out from the background in 3D - quite an interesting style - set the slightly cheesy tone. Sadly, just as it felt like it was beginning, the demo came to an abrupt end.

The short stint of Hollywood 61 on offer went from dialogue scene to an impressive 3D cinema front, before bizarrely diverting into a puzzle asking you to divert light at 90-degree angles, via mirrors, to open a lock. It perhaps wasn’t the wisest choice of puzzle to focus on in this instance, as it didn’t really give any indication of what the 3DS is capable of achieving. Hopefully it is one of the earlier puzzles and there is more exciting stuff to come.

The scene that followed completion of the puzzle certainly seemed to imply that there is indeed more on the horizon. Upon entering an auditorium, the player was confronted by a dead man hanging from a noose, with strange markings strewn across the red curtains covering the cinema screen behind him. The simple puzzle here was to use the analogue slider, adjusting your viewing angle to find out what the markings meant. A tilt to the left, then the right, revealed a chilling message: ‘YOU’RE NEXT’. Uh oh. This section showed off the 3D effects in much better fashion, as genuine depth made itself apparent as you moved your view. Alas, there was no more, as this was where the demo finished.

Screenshot for Hollywood 61 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Extra Thoughts

Ubisoft has already brought numerous puzzle adventures to the Nintendo DS and Wii consoles, with the likes of Broken Sword: The Director’s Cut and Crime Scene Investigation both proving to both critical and sales successes in the Western world. Now the publisher is eager to jump onto the Nintendo 3DS bandwagon as quickly as possible, showing that the 3D effect does not merely have to be used to add depth to the playing field, but can also be incorporated to good effect for the creation of special puzzles. This time, rather than being developed by UK-based Revolution Software, of the US team at Telltale Games, Hollywood 61 appears to be an internally developed piece of software and from the early glimpse at Nintendo’s special event it looks like there is still quite a lot of work to be done before this can sit comfortably alongside games such as nintendogs + cats or Pilotwings Resort on store shelves.

As stated earlier, the main character’s visual appearance makes him look somewhat like Tex Murphy, in other words an old gumshoe-style detective, the sort that proudly sports a long, pale brown trench coat, except in this particular time period he dons a thin black tie and black suit combination. Throughout there is a mix of 2D cel-shading and realistic human character, but unfortunately the two styles do not completely gel and the lip-syncing for characters is so out of time that is looks extremely odd listening to the (decent) voice-over work and watching the lead character randomly jiggle his lips around as he talks about how an old cop friend asked for the player’s help in an investigation to uncover a serial killer. On the puzzle front, the light-based one on offer that Mike spoke about earlier, whilst completely irrelevant in terms of 3D use, was a nice little touch-screen brain-teaser to ease players into the proceedings, whilst the use of the 3D field of vision to uncover the hidden message was extremely reminiscent of the recent DSiWare release from Good Feel, Tales in a Box (or Looksley’s Line Up as it is known in the US), except rather than using the head-tracking features of the internal DSi camera to change perspective, the analogue stick on the 3DS could move the in-game camera’s position around. With 150 conundrums to tackle in total, there is definitely some strong potential for a highly engaging adventure here that will appeal to fans of the Professor Layton series, but since only such a tiny amount was revealed, judgement will be reserved until further down the line.
Adam Riley, Senior Editor.

Screenshot for Hollywood 61 (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

It’s quite difficult to judge Hollywood 61 at this stage. It seemed to veer between cheesiness and seriousness all within a few minutes, and the two gameplay scenes were at odds with one another: one used the new handheld well, the other not so much, relying solely on touch-screen input. Still, this was a very early look at a miniscule slice of a much larger game, and time will tell if this is going to be a mystery worth solving or not.

Developer

Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Basically a DS project changed into a 3DS project? Until I try this I can't really make up my mind since I usually like this type of games. Handheld and console launches are always tricky software-wise.

EdEN said:
Basically a DS project changed into a 3DS project?

That would be my first thought, yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing...we shall see.

Handheld and console launches are always tricky software-wise.

Definitely. There are always a few stinkers in there that have been rushed out onto the market to take advantage of the initial rush of demand. Hopefully, if our intuition is right about it being a DS project carried over, it has already been in development for some time and won't be quite as rushed.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

And then there are games that some hate while I like. The last example being Red Steel. Really liked it at the Wii launch but I was in the minority.

I thought Red Steel was a pretty solid game, and it didn't have too many glitches, and I only found those glitches because I was looking for them the second time I played it through.

The Demo of Hollywood 61 did end ubruptly, but I could see some potential, although the ending of the demo was a bit vague, but cleverly used.

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