“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – William Shakespeare
The Darkside Detective is a collection of point-and-click detective puzzle adventures with a spooky twist. Players take on the role of Detective McQueen who, accompanied by his sidekick Officer Dooley, must solve a series of supernatural mysteries.
Developer: Spooky Doorway
Release Date: 27th July 2017
Price: £9.99 – £11.69
The Darkside Detective is divided into nine standalone episodes with recurring side characters which makes it an ideal game to play in multiple short sittings. The game has standard point-and-click mechanics with traditional inventory based puzzles for the most part and this is done well with logical progression and no superfluous back and forth through the different scenes. This, along with the occasional mini-game makes for some engaging and satisfying gameplay that remains casual throughout.
McQueen and Dooley investigate supernatural goings-on in The Darkside Detective, solving cases with titles such as Tome Alone, Malice in Wonderland and Disorient Express. The individual stories are a lot of fun and involve a range of spooky goings-on from trouble with ghosts, trains getting stuck in the wrong dimensions and even a Santa Claus kidnapping!
The writing truly is a highlight of the game and it is where the funny elements really shine through. Dooley provides a lot of the humour and enthusiastically fills the role of comedy sidekick, just one of many tropes the game knowingly and ironically uses to great effect, usually adding comedic value. Similarly, the regular and often humorous pop culture references offer some familiarity. The silly humour combined with the darker aspects of the narrative provides a nice contrast whilst working in perfect tandem.
The Darkside Detective features some fantastic low-res pixel art in muted colour palettes with vibrant pops of contrast and atmospheric lighting, as always the game is very self aware and there is even a meta joke in-game about the lack of detail. The music ranges from funky, to slightly bluesy to retro vibes all with an eerie undertone and 80’s sci-fi vibe. The overall aesthetic is very retro which fits the style of the gameplay perfectly.
Overall, The Darkside Detective is a brilliant game, it provides clever inventory puzzles, retro styling, spooky stories and a whole bunch of humour. It will take around 8-10 hours to complete but lends itself well to shorter staggered play sessions with it’s stand alone cases to investigate. This is an absolute must-play for fans of detective games and the point-and-click genre in general.
For more great point-and-click games check out the following reviews:
Shindig: A Wholesome New Point-and-Click Adventure – How We Know We’re Alive – A Free Melancholy Mystery – Little Misfortune: She’s a Little Lady, That’s What She Is!