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The Darkside Detective Review – Hilarious yet a bit too short

The Darkside Detective is a point-and-click with an interesting story and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Developer: Spooky Doorway
Publisher: Spooky Doorway
Release Date: July 27th, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows, Mac and Linux) Mac, Linux
Platform Reviewed on: PC (Windows)

 

In The Darkside Detective, you take the role of Francis McQueen, a detective for Twin Lakes. Now, if you have never seen any niche 90s TV shows, some of the jokes may be lost on you. As someone who’s seen all of the shows it references, it is hilarious. Now I cannot be certain if you would understand the jokes if you’re not familiar with that sort of TV show. However,  the humor, in general, is very “joking with co-workers in the office”, along with the occasional breaking the fourth wall remark.

The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and at no point does it get too deep or dark. I do not want to spoil many jokes, but I think this early out of the way joke speaks for itself. They’re talking about how there are only “two chairs in this house”.

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This game genuinely had me laughing and shaking my head (in the best way) at their jokes. They got really heavy handed with the references, and it feels like the game needs them for the narrative to progress. Not necessarily a bad thing, just important to note that without the frame of reference, it is easy to feel lost or left out. I would have liked to see the game branch out a bit more, it almost feels a little mundane after a while. It feels like they had the idea that it would take itself too seriously by setting up a deeper plotline, which is a shame as I think the game had the creative wit to pull it off.

This is a point-and-click game, with no attempt to improve on the formula. Playing the game, there were points where I was stuck for a while, and there aren’t many hints given to the player. Perhaps a case reset was created for that purpose. There were some puzzles that didn’t feel very intuitive, and I was just clicking on the backgrounds without much purpose. An unfortunate pitfall for the genre, perhaps, but the mini-game style puzzles did help break this up somewhat.

The game is also lacking in settings, there are no resolution options or even just a fullscreen toggle on the options. While there are some jokes that are just making fun of cops and people all about “graphics” in games, they pass up valuable slots to have those jokes.

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My overall problem with the game is that there just isn’t enough of it. Even struggling with some gameplay issues, it only took me five hours to beat the game. The final scenario certainly ramps things up, offering a much deeper case with a lot higher stakes, it just feels like the ending is very abrupt.

The Darkside Detective knows what it’s trying to be, but I just wished that it had another 10%. I do feel like this game is worth up picking up despite the short play time, purely based on the great writing. I’m excited to see what is in store for these developers, because The Darkside Detective shows a lot of promise.

 

Pros:

  • Great writing
  • Good artstyle with interesting pixel art lighting
  • Nice comedy if you understand the references

Cons:

  • Depends too much on references
  • Point and click genre based issues without improving on them
  • Little to no game options
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2 replies »

  1. This game reminds me of one of my very first reviews – for The Blackwell Legacy, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It also looks like it has a real Monkey Island vibe going on, which sounds fun. I’ll have to check this out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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