It’s time to transport yourself back to the days of Starsky and Hutch, Barney Miller, and CHiPS. That’s right, Italo Games is sending you back to the ‘70s in an action game that is heavy on crime, violence, evil brothel chicks, double crossers, and scooters. You play as a nefarious gun toting hip gangster wannabe. Except this dude really is bad. Walk the streets of Milan; nay… drive your baby, a little red scooter, around the streets of Milan. Sure, it’s pixelated, but that’s part of the charm of Milanoir.
Straight away what smacks you across the face when playing Milanoir is the intentionally pixelated graphics. It may keep some people from taking this game seriously, but it really works for this incredible journey through the absolute dregs of humanity. I loved the skinny little legs on the beer can bodies. You come across a ton of interesting nut-jobs along your journey. As you walk, you will notice some pretty hilarious antics going on around you in the city. Some are even more than a little Mature rated, as I took note while walking along a street and noticed a shape in the window above, which turned out to be a woman bouncing up and down. Your imagination can fill in the rest of the picture. Perhaps this game took a few cues from Boogie Nights as well? Regardless, the little details and nuances make the city feel lived in and more than a few are designed to make you laugh as you navigate the story.
What kind of music do you think of when you think about those crazy ‘70s? If it’s funky then you’ve got an idea of the tunes you’ll be graced with. I got a kick out of it and it adds a lot to the atmosphere of being that mob dude taking out the competition. Taking out bad dudes to the tunes of Staying Alive probably wouldn’t have quite had the same impact. Its soundtrack complements the tone of the game.
This game is rated M for a good reason. You will have no shortage of F bombs, blood, guns, sex, and drugs. Sure, no one speaks, but the language is about what you’d expect from Mafiosos doing crimes and defending territory. What really set this game apart are its controls. You move your little beer can dude with the left stick and you control where he aims with the right stick. I’m going to come right out and say that this took me a long time to become accustomed to it. What is mostly an incredibly enjoyable experience starts to become a lesson in absolute frustration because the little reticle that you control is about as friendly as a feral wombat. It bites you in the ass the moment you start to think you got it. Allow me to explain. No, there is too much – allow me to sum up. You will come to a point in the game where bad guys are shooting at you and coming at you from all sides. To make matters worse, coming up behind you are a couple of streetcars that will kill you the second you stop. This sequence took place right after another tough round where two vans tried to wipe me out, and if you fail to shoot them to bits in time one van will swerve through the other just to instantly kill you. Hardly a fair fight!
Thanks to the “high quality pixelated” graphics (their words, not mine), I had a hell of a time figuring out what I could and could not take cover behind. There are several places where things that seem to be the same height may or may not protect you. There was a point where it looked like a pipe or something was in my way. I couldn’t seem to jump over it. Finally, I figured out that it was actually a wall partition from an end view.
I want to give it to you straight because I don’t want to be responsible for you buying a game that just pisses you off so much that you rage quit. I mean, hypothetically, you could be in a situation with guys all around you with guns and knives and a streetcar bearing down on you and it could just, hypothetically, make you want to throw your nice pro controller through the screen of your beautiful OLED 4K television. When I said that the controls set it apart, I don’t mean in a positive way.
Milanoir is a great game that just starts to collapse on itself around act 5 or so. I don’t know how many acts there are total. After all of my frustrations with the controls and difficulty spikes, I really don’t think I care. I may try to go back to it again someday, but honestly, there are far better games I can spend my time playing. I will say this: up until that frustrating stuff started happening I was enjoying this game immensely. I love the story, I love the characters, and I love the music and the cool graphics. There are times when a developer has to take a moment to think that maybe their “brand new awesome idea” control scheme is incredibly hard to get used to. It’s extremely sensitive and I did eventually turn down that sensitivity in the options until I felt a little more in control, but I could never tweak it just right.
I feel that Milanoir is an excellent action shooter (if you can come to grips with the controls) with a sweet story that really keeps you interested and compelled to find out what insane thing is going to happen next. The music is groovy and the difficulty was about perfect until it suddenly ramped up too much, too early. It ruined everything else about the game for me and if you do wind up giving it a chance I hope you have a much different experience than I had and a higher tolerance for unforgiving gameplay mechanics.
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
An excellent game filled with all the things to love about video games. Cool characters, great music, sweet story, and graphics that fit the game perfectly. It’s just too bad that the difficulty spike absolutely killed the experience for me. I don’t rage quit very many games, but when I do… a controller usually dies a horrifying and disturbing death. Don’t worry. No controllers were harmed in the process of this review.
Milanoir was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.