Adventure Game Corner - Darkside Detective
We had our first 'Adventure Game Corner' blog-post back in May (if you missed it shame on you, you can catch up here!) so we're overdue our second entry. This time around we thought we'd look at a more recent adventure game, the most excellent Darkside Detective by Spooky Doorway.
I've been playing through DD recently with my wife on our cherished Switch (other formats are available) and we had a lot of fun with it. There are a number of neat ingredients that pop out about the game and make it memorable. It also adds to this by tweaking the classic 'point and click' formula to make it a really neat example of a modern adventure game.
From a setting standpoint it's the pixelated lovechild of Twin Peaks and the X files. You play as Detective McQueen in Twin Lakes' police departments Darkside Division tackling the myriad of strange occult goings on in the city. It's a easy to grasp set-up that requires little explanation, get's out of the way quickly and allows you to get stuck in and enjoy the game. The game has plenty of knowing nods and pop culture references but still manages to be it's own beast.
The music and also riffs along similar genre lines with a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack by Ben Prunty, you can listen to a track in the video below or also head over to his Bandcamp page to listen to the whole thing:
So from an audiovisual point of view the game very much embraces the old-school, but it does come with some modern twists.
At the game's core is an episodic structure. These episodes are structured as several 'case files' for McQueen and his partner Officer Dooley to tackle. This in itself is kinda neat as the setting lends itself very well to this episodic structure. Each case file is it's own self contained story with a loose overarching narrative and reoccurring characters linking them together. The episodes themselves don't outstay their welcome, maybe taking 45 minutes/an hour to complete. This worked out pretty well for us (as we were tag teaming it as a duo) as we got to finish an episode in one sitting and didn't have to work out were were were up to or what we were doing when we picked up the game for our next session later down the line.
The game also feels pretty snappy and to the point. McQueen doesn't move around the scene on your command, instead once the scene exit is clicked the next scene will appear with the Detective and his sidekick on their marks and ready to go.
Like quite a few other adventure game a key ingredient they leverage is humour. This can sometimes be a bit hit and miss, especially when revisiting older games, but for use Darkside Detective really hit the funny bone.
It also had the added bonus of DLC, in the form of new self contained case files, at no extra cost. These DLC cases have been a really nice way to revisit the town of Twin Lakes.
All in all we both really enjoyed Darkside Detective, felt it had a neat take on the genre so well worth giving it a whirl. They've also teased a Kickstarter for Season 2 so it looks to be an expanding universe!
Thanks for reading,
Alex & Tom