Game Review: Detective Grimoire.

By James L. Boyle

Detective Grimoire is a point-and-click adventure game developed by SFB Games.

The titular Detective Grimoire is called in to investigate the murder of the owner of tourist attraction Boggy’s Bog, a theme park set in the middle of a backwater swamp. As Grimoire investigates the circumstances surrounding the crime, he is drawn into a web of intrigue involving (amongst other things): a cartoon swamp monster; inedible junk food; and a mysterious red-headed young girl who seems to know all about Grimoire…

Detective Grimoire excels, like all good adventure games, in creating an engaging world for the player to immerse themselves in using a creative blend of aesthetics, sound design and characterisation. Gentle flute melodies in bright, colourful meadows give way to unnerving squelching and strings as the game progresses into abandoned buildings and forgotten woods. Each character encountered has unique agenda and motives which are fleshed out through well-written and entertaining dialogue with the player. The dialogue is not mere set dressing either: many of the investigation mechanics in the game centre on examining suspects’ statements, weighing them against gathered evidence, and grilling them over discrepancies. Others involve problem solving, such as disabling a puzzle lock to clear a path to a new area.

Whilst the puzzles are easy to grasp, they may actually be too easy in terms of overall difficulty. Even towards the endgame, the game feels the need to point out important objects by surrounding them with bright, sparkly lights (though this can be disabled for more of a challenge). The identity of the culprit was also – to this reviewer, at least – glaringly obvious, to the point that they may as well have been shown holding a bloodied knife behind their back, nonchalantly whistling. Another complaint is the game’s short length: playing this game from start to finish took about two hours and felt rather insubstantial as a result.

On the whole, Detective Grimoire is a pleasant, if simplistic, adventure game whose excellent aesthetic design and characterisation are marred by its short length and over-simplified puzzles. Whilst adventure game veterans may choose to pass in favour of a meatier challenge, it should suit beginners to the genre.} else {