Just in time for the long weekend, here’s a game review for a game ON SALE (steam) through July 4, 2016.  Not an affiliate link, just go enjoy.  Seriously, even if you don’t really like it… it’s less than 6 dollars right now… generally less than a fast food meal and a few cents more than a Little Caesar’s Hot-n-Ready® pizza.
What the developers say – (from: the-detail.com)
The Detail, a crime noir adventure in a modern American city.
Controlling the actions of a bitter veteran detective investigating a brutal gangland murder and a reformed criminal trying to protect his family, the player is forced to make tough choices and deal with the resulting consequences of those moral dilemmas. The gameplay focuses on branching narrative mixed with interactive comics, and is completed by a professional audio track.
The Detail combines the emotional impact of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead with the themes of a realistic crime drama like HBO’s The Wire, delivered with our own unique visual style inspired heavily by graphic novels. This is city where cases matter, clearance rates matter, and on a good day even justice matters.
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I like these choose-your-own-adventure, episodic type games where you can play several times and see different results – the difference here vs. the books is that generally you’ll follow the same overall story line without the opportunity to die off abruptly.  Playing through a few times, I could not seem to find obvious way to end the game early and restart. This is fine but, now I don’t have the sense of danger and suspense that might otherwise accompany the choice-making.
 the detail
Likes
  • As was mentioned in the developer description, you play the game as the bitter detective and the reformed criminal, plus some other characters — so, you see several different points of view in the story.
  • Visual storytelling – this game could be described as an enhanced motion comic (e.g. madefire) with comic fonts and comic-book-like illustrations.   Being a comic book fan, this works well for me but will not work for all.
  • Interesting story – despite a few glitches here and there the story was interesting even if a bit predictable (and you get to help influence some of the details along the way)
  • “Puzzles” – in various scenes, you have to investigate the crime scene and piece together what happened at the during the crime.  Or, you may have to figure out how to get out of a certain situation using objects in the building or by talking to various people.  These are fun but generally modestly challenging.
  • Price! – On Steam right now, the 3 episodes cost only $5.37 – full price appears to be $17.07 which is a pretty good cost for what will likely amount to a few hours of entertainment
  • Music – the music really sets the tone for the game, as it should.  Generally somber, you can get lost in the feels.
  • Speedy clicking – some times I’m impatient and just want to get to the next scene.  “The Detail” generally allows me to speed up the dialog and get moving.
  • Multiple save slots.  Players could have several instances of the game in flight if they so desired.
Dislikes
  • This is another game with a lot of cursing and adult situations.  I want to be able to share some of my gaming entertainment with my kids but this one is not for them (they are 11 and under). To illustrate – I won’t do a game video because I’d want to edit out so much of the language and several of the scenes.
  • A Few bugs –  Example: in one of the scenes (episode 2) My character A is interacting with character B.  Character B seems to think I’ve had another non player character snitch on character B even though that did not happen in my this particular play through of the game.  Not a huge issue but leads to feeling like the game still needs just a little more work in the Quality Assurance department.  There are also some grammatical issues and for certain folks (including me) this can be an annoyance.
  • Mouse jumps around – In the steam version of the game (I’ve not played the iOS version), depending on what you’re doing the mouse may jump around a bit.  More accurately – if I’m clicking through some dialog the mouse sometimes disappears, then reappears in a different place.  Again, not a huge issue but a small annoyance
  • No replay from a certain point.  After I played through the game I wanted to restart episode 2 with all the choices I’d made in episode 1.  Can’t seem to do that.

Other observations

Ticketclub.com
  • No voice acting – again, like a motion comic.  Probably keeps costs down but would add to the game if done well.
  • Generally linear script – there are some game play differences based on your choices but most of the script is… scripted.
  • You do not choose your character. While you play as several, you don’t actually pick them.  The game chooses, based on the script.

Based on the above we’ll score it a 3 out of 5 –  for the price-for-duration of game play value, this is a game to consider especially this weekend during the sale.  If you’re interested, please do remember that there is foul language and definite adult and unsavory situations.

 

Update July 6, 16: Developer indicates 3rd episode for iOS will be available “early autumn”

Do you have any recommendations for episodic games or feedback on “The Detail?” – let us know!

 

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