Sunday, June 3

Review: Milanoir [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Even this early into the Switch’s lifespan it is getting tougher to do something really unique in the indie space. Not only are most genres covered, but we also have pockets in certain genres that are very well-represented already. Trying to break out of the normal mold and do something a bit different is the shooting and action game Milanoir, that walks you through the life of a hitman working his way through some tough times and taking down some hard targets.

In the game you’ll play the role of Piero, a hitman extraordinaire who may be a little too aware of his prowess. As is often the case in these sorts of stories when someone shows a bit too much hubris the universe has a tendency to throw bad situations and humbling circumstances them. Incarcerated, alone, and beset upon by both the guards and his fellow inmates, Piero survives his multi-year ordeal and returns to the streets to exact his revenge.

One thing it does a decent job at is to throw a pretty wide variety of action sequences at you. There’s shooting on foot, in vehicles, in a boat, and then some crazy sequences where you’ll be without your gun and forced to use stealth or a knife to get the job done. Among the more inventive ways the game allows for creativity and will help you get out of a jam is that signs will ricochet your bullets, something that isn’t just handy but often vital as well. This is an experience that revels in its M rating, even with pixel graphics, so be aware that there’s some pretty grim stuff going on a Piero is hardly a hero. If you’re finding the action a bit too tough you can also have a friend join in to try to help, there are certainly sequences where you’ll likely need it.

That leads into probably the game’s biggest problem and that’s the pretty crazy up and down with its difficulty. Some sequences will feel a bit too easy, some will be fairly middle of the road, and then there are those you’re going to get stuck on… and the reasons don’t always feel terribly fair. At times a contributing factor to frustration is that it isn’t always perfectly clear what you need to do so it isn’t unusual to die a number of times in some sequences while you try to figure out what the hell is going on. While you can certainly roll with the punches repeating some of the overlong sequences when it feels a bit unfairly stacked against you can be aggravating.

While Milanoir offers up something very different on Switch, and manages to avoid repeating itself too much, the overall unevenness of the experience can be hard not to be frustrated by. Some sequences play well, and will give you some push back, but others can prove to be maddening and seem to only get cleared through an element of luck on top of your skills. If you’re determined to you’ll get through it but for mere casual fans without a patch it will probably aggravate more than entertain.

Score: 6

  • A pretty wide variety of action sequences with different styles and techniques
  • The bullet ricochet mechanic is creative and makes for some added strategy
  • When things click and the challenge isn’t too excessive it feels good

  • The pendulum of difficulty swings too wide and too often
  • Some sequences aren’t terribly intuitive in terms of what to do or where to go
  • There’s some heavy and grim stuff going on in the game as a warning