Small Town Detective Review

Small Town Detective Review

Game: Small Town Detective
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle, Indie, Who Done It
System: Steam
Developer|Publisher: SimonDesign
Controller Support: None
Price: UK £ 6.68 | EU € 7,78 | USD $8.00
Release Date: March 1st, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to SimonDesign.

Small Town Detective is a simplified mystery game. Players have to talk to people all over town to see what they may have witnessed, finding out clues by bits to figure out who the killer is and arrest them.

Unique Gameplay and Interesting Ideas in Small-Town Detective

Small Town Detective is pretty unique in the world of murder mysteries. It feels a lot like working a beat cop who has to walk from house to house and interview people. Many of the people you talk to are not helpful, and some witnesses will even lie to you for several reasons.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
Come on, man, give me a clue.

The game’s look is sleek and simplified, allowing players to easily check what a suspect is wearing, their hair colour, and more. Players can also tag certain characters to say whether they are suspicious of them or not. You can also search people’s apartments, interview their neighbours, and use other detecting skills to try and figure out who has done it.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
The game automatically records everything people tell you.

It’s not a new concept, but the way this game is put together is entirely unique. For a one-person design team, making something this different and this interesting could not have been easy. However, Small Town Detective is not without its issues.

This Game is Weird and Hard

As the day and night cycle continues and you interview everyone in town, Small Town Detective is quickly killing off basically everyone in town. The killer can get rid of like three or four people a day, piling bodies high in the church before you even have time to finish interviewing everyone in a location. If someone is out murdering with abandon like that, they would be pretty easy to catch. Yet this game is weirdly hard.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
Please don’t lie to me; I’m just trying to do my job.

There are no directions in Small Town Detective. Players have to fumble through the whole thing without a single bit of help that I could find. I still don’t know how to use the Search or Camera features, and there is no tutorial to help me out.

You only get to use a limited number of questions, special questions, and house searches per day, all while someone is out there killing people and the other “homans” are leaving town and killing themselves. There is no description to tell the difference between regular questions and special questions. You can arrest people without provocation, and then the game gives you a timer but doesn’t tell you what to do while the timer is going to help put the killer away.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
The day-night cycle refills your question limit.

I played several rounds of Small Town Detective, but I never even came close to winning. I fumbled with the controls, stumbled over the poor grammar for a long time, and I still don’t feel like I know anything about how Small Town Detective actually works.

Improvements Need to Be Made

I know developing a game alone is super hard, and I think that the dev for Small Town Detective has some good bones to work with. They desperately need a native English editor and a tutorial. This would make Small Town Detective playable so I could review it accurately.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
Does Today’s News at the bottom actually give you any helpful information? Who knows!

There is a reason why every good game, from AAA titles to indies, has a lot of play testers. It’s obvious that the only person who played this game before release is the person who made it, who already knows how everything works and therefore makes them terrible at QA.

Small Town Detective Review Ladies Gamers
I’ve been at this for three minutes and two new people have already been murdered.


I was so disappointed in Small Town Detective. I wanted to love it, but it was so hard to get into and figure out. This game was a massive disappointment for me.

Final Verdict: I Don’t Like it
I don't like it

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