Out of the Dimly-Lit Past
While there’s a part of me that marvels at how it’s been two years since I reviewed Noir as part of the Minigame Library, and ponders at how much I have changed and grown and aged over the past 24 months, mostly I think of that part of me as an unoriginal nitwit. We’re reminiscing now? Thinking about how I was once a fresh-faced 26 year-old? No time for that — there are murders to solve. Poor Irma is too busy being dead to pine over her lost youth, so why should I mope over mine?
I keep reminding myself that each of the games in the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games were designed by the same dude, D. Brad Talton, Jr. It’s surprising because each of these games is a tight, self-contained experience, totally distinct from the others in the collection despite their shared designer and tiny size. Unfortunately, they also share the same downside: that they could have been even better if only they’d had more to them. In a way, the “mini” in “Minigame Library” is its biggest weakness. Master Plan would have been even more cerebral if only it contained a few more traps; Infinity Dungeon’s random wackiness stops being quite so random and wacky after you encounter all of its items, rooms, and characters after only a few plays; and Pixel Tactics demands “More!” so resoundingly that it’s getting exactly that later this summer.
Then along comes Noir, the glowing exception to this rule. Noir has exactly as many cards as it needs to be a great mystery game, and it’s easily the tightest out of a set of very tight games. “More?” you ask.
No. Noir isn’t interested in more.