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The Darkside Detective (2017) Game Review

Clever 8-Bit revival game is a must play.

The Darkside Detective is 2017 throwback to the golden age of point and click adventures, but does it hold up past its retro charms?

Strange things are going down in the city of Twin Lakes be it children getting snatched into alternative dimensions, strange happenings at the library or gremlins taking over the police station, things clearly are far from normal. Thankfully it’s a city that is also home to The Darkside Division even if it consists solely of Detective McQueen and his half-wit sidekick Officer Dooley, who might just be the best defence against the weirdness threatening to consume the city.

The debut game from Indie Developer Spooky Doorway, this graphic adventure feels very much like a throwback to the likes of The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, which will no doubt be cause for delight for the retro gamers, especially as point and click adventures have in recent years been something of a rarity, let alone ones like those classic Lucasarts titles that managed to combine memorable humour with testing puzzles, which is exactly what we also get here.

The Darkside Detective
The Darkside Detective, 2017 © Spooky Doorway

Dave McCabe wastes little time in establishing the general tone for the game as right from the opening conversation between Detective McQueen and Officer Dooley it’s clear that this is going to be anything but a serious game to play through, and over the course of the six cases that all serve as their own stand-alone stories even though certain characters will pop up in different cases, helping to give the game a feeling of being a real world despite the limitation of the 8-bit style.

Despite there only being six cases to complete, they are all different from each other with the game hitting a range of topics that only serves to highlight the extensive list from which the game draws inspiration and genre fans will no doubt get a real kick out of spotting the various references. Thankfully, the writing is clever enough to save it from descending into another round of cut and paste references, with the self aware style of humour playing up many of the genre tropes.

The Darkside Detective
The Darkside Detective, 2017 © Spooky Doorway

Even though the game is using a retro pixel art style throughout, the graphics still come with a lot of depth, especially with the colour saturation, which makes each frame look fantastic. True Detective McQueen or any of the characters might not move across the screen, but in some strange way it only adds to the charms of the game.

RELATED: Watch our full interview with The Darkside Detective developers Spooky Doorway

One of the small nagging issues with the game though comes from the puzzles, which the more experienced fans of the genre will find perhaps a little too simple, especially as the game avoids many of the more outlandish solutions we have seen in other titles. Other than the usual object-based puzzles, we also get a number of logic puzzles including the game’s own version of the hacking minigame from Bioshock that break things up though they themselves won’t usually cause you any major issues. Perhaps because of this the game did end up taking on more of a casual priority on the gaming pile, while the short time it will take you to complete each of the cases makes it a fun game to pick up when you have a spare hour and don’t want to start something more involved.

The Darkside Detective
The Darkside Detective, 2017 © Spooky Doorway

Unquestionably, this is a fantastic debut title from Spooky Doorway and only makes me all the more excited to see how they follow it up, be it further adventures for McQueen or something new in a similar vein. This however is a title worth checking out especially if you still long for a decent point and click adventure this title more than delivers.

The Darkside Detective (2017) Game Review

Game description: The Darkside Detective is 2017 throwback to the golden age of point and click adventures, but does it hold up past its retro charms?

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