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The Darkside Detective Review – Pixelated crime fighting in the 80’s. What’s not to love?

Retro detective solving with glorious results in The Darkside Detective. The FingerGuns Review; Without question, the monstrous success of the Switch has lead a majority of indie devs seeing their colleagues in other studios thrive on the system, having perhaps […]

Retro detective solving with glorious results in The Darkside Detective. The FingerGuns Review;

Without question, the monstrous success of the Switch has lead a majority of indie devs seeing their colleagues in other studios thrive on the system, having perhaps little competition in the early months of the hybrids release. Since then, Nintendo have gone somewhat overboard with their migration policy, allowing at least 15 games every Thursday to find a home in the eShop. The system certainly needs to reign it in a little in that regard, but when gems such as The Darkside Detective arrive into the eShop, who are we to argue?

The Darkside Detective arrives on Switch and as ever when I review a Switch game, it seems to have found a place where it can really blossom into the experience it was meant to be. The Darkside Detective is a pixel point and click adventure, feels a little more condensed that most games in the genre with bite size gameplay perfect for commutes or to just kill a bit of time. In the course of the six or so hours it’ll take to power through the game you’ll find yourself wanting more. It’s that kind of experience.

Let’s talk about how good this game looks. The presentation of TDD is spot on, with colourful visuals looking delightful on the Switch screen, popping in all the right places and showcasing its power of delivering clean and crisp visuals regardless of style. It’s the audio where the gameshines. Across the six cases what always stands out is how well the soundtrack works to integrate you into the mysteries. The reliance on 80’s synths feeding you a piece of music that harkens back to watching detective shows when you were a kid and allows you to easily get in that headspace. With this and Crossing Souls, the 80’s pastiche is proving it’s not going away anytime soon in gaming, and we couldn’t be happier about that.

Across the games run time – six hours or so if you figure out what you’re doing relatively quickly -, you’re going to be partaking in an awful lot of exploration. That’s ok though, so long as you can find something to click on I encourage being able to move around as much as possible as it will only suit you better in the long run. You’re going to end up scratching your head at certain puzzles unless you have the correct objects that you’ve found in various locations, so taking that extra time to have a nose is crucial. The first case more or less works as a tutorial for the following five, leaving you to get to grips with the games straightforward mechanics before it gets a little more tricky later on.

The less you know about the game’s narrative the better, so I’ll hold off going too deep into each of the cases stories. What you need to know is that there is more depth and humour to found here than any case you may have tried on in L.A. Noire. The dialogue throughout is funny and entertaining, without feeling too forced. As mentioned above there’s plenty of old-school references that a group of a certain age will get a good chuckle out of, though younger audiences may wonder what on earth we’re laughing at over here, in our rocking chairs, bemoaning a time when music was music and we have to blow into our cartridges to play Chaos Engine.

I don’t think you even have to be a fan of the genre to really get to grips with The Darkside Detective. It does more or less everything very well, but it’s definitely aimed at a niche audiences in terms of references and in-jokes. There could be an argument too that it doesn’t quite hit the dizzy heights of Thimbleweed Park, but there’s certainly nothing else on the system currently that is any closer to reaching that goal.

I loved the pop culture references, the subtle in -jokes and the terrific visual style. I just wanted more of it. But is that really a complaint?


The Darkside Detective is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Publisher: Isometric Dreams
Developer: Spooky Doorway

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a review copy from the publishers. For our full review policy please go here.

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