Detective Grimoire is a PC port of a mobile adventure game developed by SFB Games. Its art style, voice acting, and pacing are spot-on, making the exceedingly easy gameplay a lot easier to swallow.
You play as Detective Grimoire (obviously) as he investigates the murder of the owner of Boggy’s Bog, a tourist attraction smack dab in the middle of the creature by same name’s habitat. Somehow the founder ignored all things logical and ecological and transported the swamp and all of its spookiness to the middle of nowhere, and now the employees are capitalizing on it despite many others disagreeing with the practice. Therefore it is no surprise when the owner turns up dead, and everyone is a suspect.
I know I have complained about mobile ports to PC before (and if you didn’t know, look here), but this is an instance where it works. The basic touch controls translate perfectly to a point-and-click system. The only oddity is the puzzles as they are clearly meant to let the players mess with the touch screen than actually have anything to solve. They are not just easy by adventure game standards–they are easy period. For once I even turned off hints and highlighted areas to amp up the difficulty, and I don’t usually shy away from any help with this genre.
From simple mazes to mixing primary colors, the puzzles work more like tasks, never making me pause for a moment to think about the solution. There really weren’t very many, keeping it from hindering the gameplay; instead the focus was on conversation.
Usually conversing with NPCs is one of the most tedious parts of the genre, but here it was the highlight of the entire experience. Outside of a few set dialogue options, you are free to present clues and the profiles of other suspects as you please. You can either take the efficient path where you try to only ask about relevant evidence (how I started) or ask them about anything and everything you have in your trenchcoat’s pockets (how I ended up playing).
The interrogations are the best part. By asking questions and uncovering clues, you get a dialogue option called, “Challenge,” for each suspect. Here you can ask them a series of questions that will catch them in a lie, get them to tell the entire truth, or make them remember something important, OF course these are in line with the game’s overall easy difficulty, working like a multiple choice test where you get an infinite number of retakes. Sometimes you get to choose your own witty banter between important conversations, letting you decide what kind of smartass detective you want to be.
If you are a completionist, this game’s default interface will get you excited. It’s littered with percentages for you to max out, and your notes have blank spaces for every piece of evidence you have yet to find.
And every time you do find a new clue, you get a chime. Actually, the entire game’s sound design is spot on. All the noises for right and wrong answers and the variations in the score are as beneficial to the mood and setting as the writing and art style. The few chosen moments of silence are expertly done, the screen going dark, the font turning read, and the character’s voice deepening ever so slightly.
Overall Detective Grimoire was a quirky piece of noir I was hoping for, and not even the lack of challenge could bring it down. If you are looking for a few hours of oddities worthy of modern-day Cartoon Network, check it out. Now for you to wait and find out when I will ever get off of this adventure game kick. Stay tuned.