Game: Crime O’Clock
Genre: Hidden Object, Puzzle, Investigation
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Windows & macOS)
Developers | Publishers: Bad Seed | Just for Games
Age Rating: US E10+| EU 7+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: June 30th, 2023 (Switch), July 21st 2023 (PC & macOS)
Review code used, with many thanks to XOGO Consulting.
Crime O’Clock is a hidden object-type game with a difference. It takes that general concept of hidden objects and elevates it to an entirely new place, and it’s a lot of fun to play.
It’s a game where you must use your deduction skills and play the part of a detective. Will you be observant enough to solve the mysteries, hacking, murders and theft? Grab your deerstalker hat and magnifying glass, and let us see what Crime O’Clock is all about.
In Crime O’Clock, you are the detective who solves crimes such as thefts and murders. You must prevent crimes from happening and investigate cases through time and evolving maps by unveiling a multi-era linked story.
Furthermore, your investigations will take you through five eras: the automated Steam Age and the mystical Atlantean Age. An Italian-inspired Information Age, the Sandy Lost Age, and a futuristic, hi-tech era called the Aeon Age. In each era, the world is in black and white, and you will be using your power of deduction to spot clues in a bustling scene reminiscent of Where’s Wally puzzle books.
Additionally, each crime is story-based, allowing you to read through what is happening to find clues and determine what happens next. However, you are not alone in solving cases, as you have the constant help of an A.I. called E.V.E.
Tick Tock of the Clock
The A.I. Eve can access the time flow, rewind, and forward time; these are called “ticks”. A tick allows you to go back and forth through time, to investigate the map at different moments to solve the mystery. It’s a neat mechanic implemented into the game and adds an element of time travel into the gameplay.
As Eve uses ticks and rewinds or forwards time, you can see subtle changes in the world as time changes. Noticing the right changes to the scene will help you determine what is happening and how the criminal completed their crime. Ultimately you will end up preventing the crime altogether, which is excellent!
Highlights on the Map
As you solve each tick of a crime, coloured notes are added to the scene highlighting the black-and-white map. The highlights show you what you need to pay attention to, what you have discovered, and what actions you’ve taken in that area.
These highlights will start filling up the map. However, everything is clearly labelled, and I didn’t find it confusing as I discovered more about what was happening in the story.
While the map feels vast and has much going on, you can zoom in and see all the maps in detail, as well as the highlighted areas, helping to keep you on track. You can also take advantage of the hint system, where you can see three slight hints that will help you further solve the case.
Help from E.V.E the AI
In addition to investigating the scene, Eve, the A.I., has some tricks up her sleeve or should that be her database? Every so often, the screen will flicker, and you are taken to Eve’s database systems to complete a short puzzle segment which reveals more about the crime you are solving. These puzzle segments are of different varieties, from matching symbols to pressing the correct button on the joy cons at the appropriate time.
However, during the puzzle segments, when you are solving the puzzles, there isn’t any help if you get stuck. In saying that, there isn’t anything complicated to solve; they just require some thought.
Storyline Connects All Eras
All in all, there are roughly fifteen hours of playtime across forty story cases, though the length of time it takes to complete the game will depend on your deduction skills. There are five maps to explore to look for clues, and more than ten action puzzle mechanics are in the game.
There is a backstory running throughout the game. However, I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story as that would spoil it. I will say that even though every period has unique crimes, there is a common thread connecting all eras together, which develops over the game storyline.
Visuals and Controls
Visually. I like the game’s appearance. The highlights add a splash of colour to the black-and-white scene. Furthermore, the game has numerous pop-culture references, which are fun to spot while playing.
The music is quite good; each era has a musical theme that matches the era you are investigating. Humour can also be found in the game. From funny events in the scene and Eve playing her part and saying some funny lines. I particularly liked when Eve asked if I wanted to take a subscription out for a new subroutine it installed. Which is pretty up-to-date with today’s world of subscriptions and gave me a laugh at the time.
Controlling the game is done with the joy-cons, and everything works as it should.
Crime O’Clock is a well-put-together game that held my attention right until the last clue was found and the case solved. I liked having Eve’s help, and I loved the humour. Additionally, being a detective is incredibly satisfying when you solve a case, and all clues and the ticks fall into place to reveal the culprit. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a detective, and for players who like using their deduction skills, Crime O’Clock has crimes aplenty to solve.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up