Detective Case and Clown Bot: A Fun, Quirky Whodunit Throwback to LucasArts

In Detective Case and Clown Bot: Murder at Hotel Lisbon, our titular heroes tackle the mysterious death of a man who committed suicide…by stabbing himself 14 times in the back. Freelance investigator-slash-private eye Detective Case thinks there’s something fishy about the case when his friend subcontracts work out to him, and so it’s up to him and his newly acquired bad-joke-telling robot companion to crack the case.

The best part of the game is by far the dialogue. The English translations can fall flat, but despite the lack of voice-acting each character is imbued with a lively, unique style of dialogue that livens up what would otherwise be a series of text bubbles. Unfortunately the humor sometimes feels stale, jokes occupying some nebulous territory between over-the-top and actually offensive, so while the game is a lot of fun, I’d advise you to be prepared for occasional moments of tastelessness.

The graphics initially struck me as nothing to write home about–pixel art reminiscent of LucasArts–but the backgrounds are actually animated with objects randomly crossing the foreground, escaping the sensation of existing in a static stage that most adventure games unfortunately evoke.

The storyline is fairly straightforward with clues being brought to our attention via the cursor, eventually triggering an interrogation that lets us progress. If you’re looking for a game with an atmosphere evoking some of the same lighthearted curiosity and silliness as the Professor Layton series combined with any of the games released by LucasArts, look no further. Detective Case and Clown Bot are on the case!

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