Two days ago, I checked the recent Playfire Rewards (a program offered in connection with Green Man Gaming) and saw the name “Detective Grimoire.” I like detective games, so I looked it up and found out that Detective Grimoire, by SFB Games, was a new addition to Steam. It didn’t have any reviews at the time, but it had already been out for iOS and Android for a while. (And it’s the sequel to a smaller flash game, but you don’t need knowledge of that to play this one.)
I looked up some reviews of those versions, and one compared it to “a late-game case from an Ace Attorney game.” Well, if your game can be compared to one of my favorite series, that’s enough to get me interested! As soon as I finished my work for the day, I bought Detective Grimoire.
Grimoire may be the Only Sane Man
The first three words that come to mind when I try to figure out how to describe Detective Grimoire are:
Its charm and adorableness go hand in hand. The graphics and presentation are pleasant, the soundtrack is haunting and very reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s music, and while I didn’t find the characters as compelling as those in an Ace Attorney game, none of them were bland. The excellent voice acting helps.
Of all the characters, Detective Grimoire himself stands out. He provides a lot of the humor, especially as he tries to understand why anyone would visit a tourist attraction in the middle of a swamp. You see, he’s a homicide detective called to investigate a murder at Boggy’s Bog. The top suspect? Boggy, the mythical creature said to live in the swamp, who hasn’t been seen in 60 years.
Gameplay involves straightforward point-and-click mechanics. You’ll spend much of the time searching for evidence and questioning the bizarre group of witnesses, with an interface quite similar to that of the Ace Attorney games. As you talk to people, you’ll want to pay attention to clues, which will be added to your case file, and decide which facts are suspicious and which aren’t.
In addition to the topics you can ask about, as well as presenting clues and profiles, each character also has a secret or “challenge” you can question them about, once you pick up enough information.
At other times, you’ll be asked to choose options to fill in the blank mad-libs style, and create a coherent statement of logic–or an incoherent one for giggles. If you make the wrong choices, our poor detective will spout nonsense and then admit what he said made no sense.
A few moments reference SFB’s “Haunt the House: Terrortown
Some conversations allow you to choose from dialogue options. This only occurred a handful of times, which is a pity. One of the moments that really defined the game’s tone for me was when a character asked if Grimoire was his first name or his last name. When I read the options, I laughed out loud. (For the record, I said it’s his 23rd name, but the one he likes best.)
These conversations are the primary way the story is told. The murder mystery itself is fairly straightforward, but the plot surrounding it has some twists and turns. It also includes a sequel hook, and SFB has another Detective Grimoire game planned.
A few minor puzzles stand in your way, though none are as tough as those in the Professor Layton series… no matter what Grimoire thinks!
Detective Grimoire is an easy game, and it’s also quite short. Steam says I completed it in 2 hours, although I think it might have taken a little longer than that. While it’s a great experience while you’re playing it, it doesn’t last long.
The only other negative is a design flaw–it allowed me to get all the way to the end without picking up an important piece of evidence, but continues on as though I had that piece of evidence and even referenced it. I didn’t realize it until I returned to the game after the ending to try for 100% completion and realized I was missing something I had plot-wise just a few minutes ago.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a couple hours worth of charming entertainment, look up Detective Grimoire. I hope the sequel expands the gameplay and story into a longer, more challenging experience.
Buy Detective Grimoire from Steam
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