I’m sure everyone has a part of them that wishes they could play detective. Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Columbo and TV’s most famous detectives make it look like a thrilling, perilous and exciting line of work. Games have attempted to let audiences play detectives in the past, but not entirely successfully.
There was lots of hype surrounding the film noir, Raymond Chandler inspired Rockstar game L.A. Noire several years ago but its simplicity underwhelmed a lot of people. Similarly, there are online games dedicated to it, but most lack the imagination or storytelling abilities to make it truly arresting as a gaming experience.
Last week, along came a game that changed that finally raised the bar for the murder mystery genre of video games. Relentless Software launched The Trace for iOS users. It challenges you to solve a cast by discovering clues, tracking down leads and gathering evidence to use against your suspects. The game includes elements of forensic science – you can finally live out those CSI fantasies! – and the study of fingerprints as well as many more fun puzzles and mysteries.
The game is available in a number of different languages including English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Players in all of these countries have spoken highly of the game – not entirely surprising considering it was created by a BAFTA award winning studio. The reviews have only been tempered by criticism of how short the game is though with only one case to solve at the minute. If the game is a success, however, it is likely that the smartphone game for iPhone and iPad will add more downloadable cases in the future.