Do you like interactive stories, tough narrative decisions and slightly lazy genre fiction? Then Detective’s Choice Volume 1 just might be the game for you!
Detective’s Choice describes itself as a “RPG text-based adventure”, which is a fancy way of saying it’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that you probably read as a kid. And like those books it relies heavily on genre, possibly to the point of parody. As the app says, “you’re playing a tough detective from the 1930’s who loves his ladies, has a fragile ego, and prefers not to take guff from anyone if he can avoid it.” So far, so terribly typical. But I have an enduring love for this kind of pulp trash, so I’m still willing to give it a go.
Basically you read a story written in the second-person, and periodically you’ll be called on to decide what the protagonist does. These decisions determine not only what happens next, but also personal stats like how much money or rage you have, which will presumably affect how things in the story play out later on. I’ll try to avoid spoilers but anyone who’s played Max Payne or L.A. Noire or read any of those Dresden Files novels will be right at home. The first case is called ‘Jack Jericho and the Bloody Burlesque Show’, which is ridiculous enough for me to be intrigued. But then you get a sentence like this:
“You’re at the office, feet up on the desk, a paperback in hand when a leggy blonde in a pinstripe mini-skirt and a black fedora with lipstick the color of temptation saunters in.”
Following this, you get to choose whether you “let your eyes do the talking”, “play it cool”, or “act the gentleman”. Wow. So far it has hints of Nice Guys of Reddit: The Game, but I’m still cutting the app some slack.
Then I find out that the leggy blonde’s name is “Sissy Tease”. Um.
The game gets a bit more interesting once you start making real decision (I don’t count “let your eyes do the talking” versus “act the gentleman” as a real decision). You get to choose what sort of fee you charge your client, and this will affect how much money you have later in the game, but also affects how your client relates to you. And I’m a sucker for a mystery. Who’s behind the mysterious ‘accidents’ that are befalling headline burlesque dancers? Could the pale man with the pentagram ring be an occultist? Or is he drawing your attention away from the real mastermind? I don’t know and I’m still on the fence about whether I care, but now that the story’s there on my phone I’m probably going to dip into it again when I have some time to kill.