I first saw this game while satisfying my lust for Steam Trading Cards and thought it looked like a quirky entry in my favourite genre – point and click adventures. Since it fit in well with my indie game binge and it was on sale at the time, buying it was a no-brainer. The game is full of what you’d expect in a point and click adventure, but it adds some great little mini games and some fantastic humour, though some of it does get a little lost in translation! Detective Case & Clown Bot is a game based around the Hotel Lisbon, focusing on a rather strange suicide. You control Detective Case and his comedic companion Clown Bot to uncover the truth behind the grisly case.
When it comes to creating a good point and click adventure, the most important thing is the story. Without a strong story, the game falls apart. Other genres may be able to escape a bad story with good gameplay or extensive side questing, but in this type of game, you want a quality story to supplement your gaming experience, and to Nerd Monkey’s credit, they’ve delivered in that aspect. It is quirky and irreverent, a humour I’d not found in any game I’ve previously played, magnified by the hilariously awful one liners that Clown Bot provides on command – just as well those are my favourite type of jokes! The bizarreness of the story and the humour that is lavishly spread over the game comes out in every aspect of it, from the mini games which provide some stellar moments to the crime scenes where you can see the CSI guys dancing next to the corpse while taking pictures, there are some truly funny parts to this game which will have you in stitches as you progress.
Within the story, there are a few mechanics that make it a little different to other games, namely the interrogation system. It may be fairly simple – item plus accusation equals answer – but it works so well, and provides some great animations for correct combinations as well as incorrect ones, with the person you’re interrogating getting visibly more and more worried with each correct answer. The even better part of this is that you can use either Detective Case to schmooze an answer out of the suspect, or you can use Clown Bot to try to logically corner them until they give up. Either one you choose is guaranteed laughs because of the offbeat nature of the questions you can ask.
The game does have some serious negatives though, one of which being frequent crashes, with no obvious cause for it. Every now and then, I’d be playing, entering a new part of the game, then it would crash, and without an auto-save feature, I’d be thrown back to whenever I previously saved. It taught me the very obvious lesson of saving often. I’ve never had software so faulty that I had to be so aware of keeping my game saved, but Nerd Monkeys really hammered that one home. This, unfortunately, isn’t the only negative I can come up with for Detective Case. A very interesting design decision was to have the silhouettes of traffic run in front of the game when you’re stood on the street. It doesn’t sound like a terrible thing, in fact, it could even add a little more character to the game if applied properly, but the developers made a grave error with their implementation of it – they made it so that the silhouettes would block out the speech bubbles of all characters, making it impossible to read the entirety of what is being said to you at times.The final niggling little issue I have with the game is when the developers make an appearance in the game and offer to take you to their website, predominantly so they can try to get a further donation from you, but also in case you wanted to read their blog, which was a nice touch. Until I found out that it actually closed the game down in order to open a web browser, meaning I’d have to restart the game and reload my save! Not exactly user friendly, and not a feature I appreciated.
While Detective Case & Clown Bot’s adventure is probably one of the funniest games I’ve played in a long time, there are some trifling issues with it that must be sorted, and hopefully will be. The hilarity of the game and the brilliantly bizarre story are unfortunately outweighed by the crashes and odd design decisions. They do have a character that says to come back once you see an update come out after you’ve completed the game, but I’ve yet to see one, so it’s very difficult to recommend this game to anyone in its current state.