Developed and Published by EQ Studios
Available on Steam for PC
Do you fancy yourself as an amateur detective? If you like cracking puzzles and enjoy escape room situations, then you may want to take a look at the PC game unleashed by EQ Studios called SCENE INVESTIGATORS.
Much like the title suggests, your job is to assess a scene to help piece together events which have occurred. You have several questions you need to answer and have only the clues dotted around the vicinity to work it out.
Presented in first-person style, you can wander around the environment to look for clues. In the first proper scenario, my job was to find out the whereabouts of four people at the time of their disappearance. Using my amateur detective skills, I went about inspecting everything, from phone messages to even old birthday cards, to try to build up a picture of this family.
Without any hand-holding to aid you, it can be a bit overwhelming at first but you’ll be surprised at how much information you can glean from inspecting all the objects, such as notes, receipts and other bits, left in a home. From my own research, I deduced that everything wasn’t quite rosy in the household, and the more you inspect and analyse the clues, the more you find out about the people and the murder or disappearance.
As a trainee investigator, these scenarios have been re-created for your benefit and so with each case you complete you’re given a score based on how well you did. This brings in a replayability element as you’ll want to try and better your score where possible. As the game doesn’t tell you which answers you got wrong, it’s not as simple as correcting your mistakes. From a gaming satisfaction point of view, it would be good if there was an indication on which answers were right or at least making this an optional filter for those who just simply want to know how good a detective they are.
SCENE INVESTIGATORS is by no means an easy game. Its difficulty all depends on how good you are at puzzles and evidence gathering in order to come up with facts and plausible assumptions to deduce the answers. A clue can be present in the most mundane of things which is why it’s important to check absolutely everything and take notes as you navigate around the scene. You could do this with a notepad or you can use the in-game note feature which allows you to jot down any dates or details you think may come in useful in solving the case.
The environments can sometimes be a little boring to explore, only because checking objects isn’t the most thrilling of activities, but there’s plenty to have a nosy at, both clickable and non-interactive items -all of which could be clues. Even things such as a flyer or menu could contain important information relating to a suspect or victim.
When playing the game, there’s a subtle creepy audio track to up the ante whilst you’re locked inside the reconstructed scenario. I found this a bit freaky, if I’m totally honest, with the music making it the experience even more sombre when you discover the stories of these people you’re investigating.
Having never done an escape room before, I’m unfamiliar with the experience but I would imagine that playing this game with friends, like you would an escape room, would make the gameplay experience of SCENE INVESTIGATORS that much better as it’s a lonely old place investigating by yourself. In saying that, the quiet chill allows you to get your thinking cap on to dissect what exactly has gone down in each case.
For all you true crime buffs and armchair detectives, SCENE INVESTIGATORS is what you’ve been waiting for. The only question is, do you have the nous to solve the crime?