Dusk Case investigations.
After I first discovered my love for Visual Novels, I went on quite the bender- checking out basically every title released in the genre.
During that time, I came across a little cult classic by the name of “Hotel Dusk: Room 215”. It piqued my interest with its unique pencil sketch art style along with the fact that it was played holding the DS sideways, like a book.
It was a detective story of sorts with plenty of memorable characters and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it- as I did once more with its sequel, “Last Window”.
Unfortunately, the developers are “Cing” ceased operations in 2010, killing any hopes I had of a third entry in the Hotel Dusk series. However, some of the talents behind the beloved cult classic have made their return with a bite sized experience in “Chase: Cold Case Investigations” and while it doesn’t quite live up to the Hotel Dusk series, it’s still worth checking out all the same.
Platform: 3DS (Digital only)
Length: 2~ Hours
While we’ve all seen murder mysteries done time and time again in video games, “Chase” differentiates itself with the simple premise that the case in question is a cold one.
A cold case is an unsolved criminal investigation that’s pending discovery of new evidence and the vast majority of the time, they remain that way indefinitely.
After receiving a hint about a particular case, two detectives decide to re-examine all the clues and facts to see if this accident that took place five years ago was in actuality, a murder.
Given it’s been five years since the incident, it would be impossible to examine the crime scene but through re-evaluation of old evidence and through interrogating those who were involved with the person of interest, new information is unearth to shine light on the truth of what really happened all those years ago.
While the story itself is intriguing with plenty of surprises in stored, the gameplay is minimal at best. The entirety of the game takes place within the confines of one office as the detectives try to piece together facts and interview witnesses. There’s no adventure elements here and it’s just just one line of text after another and some dialogue choices here and there to make sure the player is paying attention.
However, given I knew that I was going into a visual novel, the lack of gameplay did not turn me off too much but I felt a bit more agency in the story, especially when looking through the evidence would’ve made me feel more engrossed in the investigation.
Lastly, even though there is no “Episode 1” subtext in the title, it is most definitely the first part of a full game as the story remains largely incomplete after the credits roll.
Given its short length of about 2 hours, it’s good that it’s priced appropriately at only $5.99. Still, it felt the game was more concerned with setting up for the sequel than ending on a satisfying note which was unfortunate.
It’s difficult to do but I believe you can still set up for a sequel and have the ending feel satisfying with the right balance teasing and closure.
While it’s great to see the talents behind the “Hotel Dusk” series back in action, “Chase: Cold Case investigations” is a much smaller and less ambitious title than its predecessors. Even though the bargain price point justifies its rather short length, the sequel bait ending and lack of variety in the gameplay leaves much to be desired. However, a visual novel lives and dies by its story and this one’s well worth reading. It just remains to be seen where the series goes from here.
Fun Tidbit – If you own a 3DS, you can play DS games as well and if you haven’t tried out Hotel Dusk and Last Window, you most definitely should as they are both quite excellent.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.