Strange things are afoot. Floating books, living dead, sewer clowns, and more classics are being parodied right before your prying eyes. You are Detective McQueen, lead investigator of the Darkside Division. Along with confidently incompetent Officer Dooley, your team investigates paranormal and odd happenings in the ever-eventful city of Twin Lakes. Inspired by classic shows like X Files and Twin Peaks, The Darkside Detective is a point-and-click adventure packed to the brim with humor and smart writing. Across six cases, players will help the dynamic duo solve various out-of-this-world happenings, some dastardly and others just plain circumstantial.
Point and clicks are a great genre to have on Switch. My first experience with one on the console was Bulb Boy, which opened my eyes to how fitting the gameplay style works on the portable console. Switch is the next best thing besides a PC to play them on, because the small personal screen makes it easy to engage with the game while observing each scene. Darkside Detective is a damn fine example of that, as its case to case structure and witty simplicity effectively prove.
Its gameplay is standard to the genre, with a mouse pointer on screen that allows you to navigate and interact with objects and persons in each scene. Using these objects in creative ways will help you progress and eventually solve the case (as well as talking to people for clues and important narratives). Another benefit of being on the Switch is that you can use the touch screen for all your actions, if you should care to do so. I did not use the touch screen much, but I did use it for the mini games, which were usually semi-simple puzzles that involved rotating pipes or fuses to make solid connections. The best thing about point-and-clicks is that they are usually fairly simple, with the occasional brain teaser here and there, but remain fun and engaging by way of some stellar writing, which this game has in nearly every dialog box.
Immediately evident in the first case, the games strong writing comes out swinging. I mean, I picked up a magazine that was seemingly naughty, titled “Jugs Weekly”, and was greeted to a picture of two pitchers with the caption “another lovely pair.” The jokes did not stop there. Time after time I was caught laughing out loud and interrupting my fiancé’s TV time by annoyingly showing her witty line after witty line. And the team at Spooky Doorway was clearly passionate about the subject matter and their inspirations. There are countless references, from Ghost Busters, Gremlins, and the previously mentioned X-Files. The tongue in cheek humor and references pair like a fine wine and some cheese, as do McQueen and Dooley, whose friendship and clashing comradery drive the heart of the game.
Design wise, the game once again deserves high marks. The bit-style graphics are spot on, mirroring classics in the genre while having the clean look of modern entries. The music department did a solid job at setting the mood from case to case, giving the spooky vibes each setting needed. Through and through the attention to details and care for the subject matter effortlessly succeeds.
I had a fantastic time with my few hours it took to clear all six cases. It was hilariously well written, and each case was unique enough to stand out on its own, conveying great characters, various items, and new challenges to overcome. The last and final case have four separate cases in one, and it was handled well, making for an actually climatic ending to an overall nonchalant rest of the game. For a fun and casual game, one that overstays its welcome on your backlog, The Darkside Detective is the way to go. I have incredibly high hopes and wants for a sequel, and should it ever arise, I will be waiting and ready to take on the case.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Final Score: 8/10
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