Unsolved Crimes - Review

Unsolved Crimes
Ages: Teen

This is a really pleasant game in a small package. I guess that with the shrinkage in memory chips (those tiny things you put in your cellphone can hold almost 2 data DVDs worth of stuff), very elaborate games can be made to fit in a DS cartridge.

The premise of this game is that you are a new rookie detective assigned to work with Marcy Blake in the NYPD homocide division. You start out with a training problem, then then go on to crime scenes with dead bodies (or chalk marks where the bodies used to be). In these scenec you can maneuver in three dimensions easily - turning, zooming in and out, raising and lowering your viewpoint. When objects are found and added to your case files you can zoom in (to a certain extent) on them to see them in more detail, and you can rotate the objects arbitrarity to see all sides, top, and bottom - a clue may be on the back side of the object.

Each case starts off with a briefing by your department chief, then you and Marcy go out to the crime scene. Progress through the game involves finding objects, observing other clues, reading statements by the witnesses or suspects, examining found objects. These actions can trigger additions to the case notes in the form of queries. You then click on a new query and answer its questions. In multiple choice situations, you tap on a choice to select it, than again to activate or confirm your choice.

If you miss getting it right too often you will be told that you just aren't detective material, and flunk out - but you can restart from the last save point. Since saving is easy, it pays to save just before starting a query session.

Partway through the game, after solving a few cases, your partner's sister gets abducted, and working on that problem is interspersed with the 'normal' cases.

This game is pretty linear, so that as is often the case, some things just cannot happen until some other state is reached. In one investigation I really wanted to look at a particular item more closely, but got the non-response which meant "nothing more to see here - move along". Later on (since I was right), I had to go back and inspect the item, which was now 'unlocked' closely. As in most adventure-type games, you may also have to consult a walk-through (there are several available online for this game) to get past a pont where your vocabulary or world construct just doesn't coincide closely enough with the game developers to get past a blockage - but no big deal.

The game developers really crafted this for the DS - using the stylus very effectively to navigate the 3D scenes, which were just at the right resolution and detail for the platform. The crime cases are big enough to be interesting and ejoyable and the right size and shape for this pocketable machine, and it is not very expensive, either. I am looking forward to the next production by these teams.

Fun Factor: Relaxing puzzler - can be played in short bursts
Female Factor: Your mentor is a woman
Player Friendly: Easy saves, some hints available.

Reviewed by: Lou - 11/08

  • Unsolved Crimes
  • © Empire Interactive $19.99
  • Platform(s): GBDSDS
  • To Order: DS http://www.amazon.com/ $19.99
  • Game Site: http://www.unsolvedcrimesgame.com/