Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 262023

The Innsmouth Case is a short interactive fiction story about a detective hired to investigate the disappearance of a little girl in Innsmouth.

Now, I love H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, games based on them, and detective stories, and this one is also a comedy, so I had high hopes.

I finally added an “interactive fiction” tag for this one, because while it does have some visuals, it’s primarily text-based and is even presented as the pages of a book. Scenery and characters appear at the top of the page, while the text appears to tell the story and present you with choices.

These choices have a variety of effects, with some leading to major branches while others can influence things later down the line, which means there’s a lot of variability.

When you reach an ending, you can easily reload a previous chapter if you don’t want to start over from the beginning. You can also skip through text to reach the next choice. This is good, since there’s a lot of trial and error involved. While some choices expect you to reason through what a smart reaction would be, others can’t be predicted (and finding the lost girl requires more guesswork than detective work).

However, I didn’t feel compelled to seek out all the endings or try to see all the branching paths, because it just didn’t have the heart I was hoping for.

Like I mentioned above, The Innsmouth Case is a comedy, despite being based on Lovecraftian horror. Its store page describes it as “the first scary-comedy-text-adventure of its kind,” but I wouldn’t go that far. As far as horror goes, The Innsmouth Case isn’t particularly scary, although it does have a ton of little nods to H.P. Lovecraft’s work. And when it comes to comedy… well, comedy is subjective, but it didn’t do it for me.

It certainly has an irreverent tone and a goofy approach to its situation, especially if you pick some of the more questionable choices. There were only a few moments that actually made me laugh, though.

In short, The Innsmouth Case isn’t the game to play if you’re looking for horror, a serious detective story, or a hilarious adventure, but if you want a short piece of interactive fiction with many branching paths and nods to Lovecraft, maybe you’ll get more out of it than I did.

We’re nearing the end of our Celebrating All Things Mysterious celebration, but there’s still plenty of time to join in the conversation about any of the games we’ve discussed so far! I’m hoping to end on a high note, so stay tuned for the upcoming reviews next week!

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  4 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Mysterious: The Innsmouth Case”

  1. Lovecraftian lore and comedy aren’t two things I would normally associate together but this makes it all the more intriguing!

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