Launched in 2017 on PC and then ported in 2019 on the Nintendo Switch, the first part of the series The Darkside Detective remained absent from Sony consoles for a long time, so much so that we thought we had to discover its sequel without even having made the first episode. It was finally released on April 8 on PlayStation 4 (and on the 24 of the same month on its big sister), a short week before its sequel here chronicled in its PlayStation 5 version. Like what there is no point in running, or giving in to the sirens competition.
Mysteries at Twin Clicks
Developed by the Spooky Doorway studio, The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in The Darkness is a point’n’click type investigation game bathed in a paranormal atmosphere good-natured and endowed with a deliberately very pixelated realization. We follow the investigations of Inspector Francis McQueen seeking initially to find his faithful sidekick Patrick Dooley lost in a spectral dimension like Stranger Things at the end of the first part. For those who would have made the first game a little while ago (like me in 2019) or who would start directly with the second opus (what a funny idea), a summary of the previous episodes serves as the start of the adventure. It is spread over six cases to be solved in a dictated order and can be enjoyed like an X-Files series. Mainly centered on the cursed town of Twin Lakes and its local vestiges (the fun fair, the retirement home, the landfill, the pier, the wrestling arena …) before taking some geographical liberties, the framework is intended to be light, n ‘not hesitating to abuse attempts at humor, cinematographic or television references and regularly breaking the fourth wall by pointing the finger at the player or the game itself. The atmosphere is more fun than scary, and it is not uncommon for a small smile to appear on our faces when confronted with the spiciness of a reflection.
The title benefits from a generally correct French translation so as not to lose a crumb but does not offer any dubbing to preserve the retro aspect of its production. The musics, for their part, avoid the chiptune and balance modern sounds that cut with the aesthetics of another time. The screenshots speak for themselves: the realization fully plays the card of large colored squares without the slightest detail, like the psychological horror game The Last Door. This software will not serve as a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Sony console, except perhaps for the very short loading times. Whether you like the style or hate it, you have to admit that it gives it an easily recognizable visual identity. On the other hand, it is not always easy to spot any clues in this cluster of pixels, so that a small vibration travels through it. DualSense when an interactive element passes under the virtual mouse (in addition to seeing its name appear above). The pointer speed can be adjusted in the options menu and using both sticks simultaneously further accelerates its movement, the touchpad of the controller is not compatible with finger navigation. With a single button to interact, launch a dialogue or obtain information about an object, maneuverability is never lacking.
With a logic straight out of an episode of Scooby-Doo, some resolutions do not always seem obvious, so we will resort to the good old “try everything on everything” to combine items from the inventory between them or use them on the sets. And most of the time, it works. There is no trick or helping system to get you out of the doldrums, just highlighting clickable items by pressing the directional pad buttons. The rest will have to be found in the sweat of his cerebellum. Those who survived LucasArts productions like the Monkey Island should still be able to get by without a solution on their knees. It will be the same for the few puzzles that run through the game, based on very scholarly assemblages. No need for knowledge outside the game, over twelve years old can get started.
With six investigations to be resolved in this sequel against nine in the first opus, we could fear a drastic cut in the lifespan but it is not, quite the contrary. Each case is spread over several areas and easily exceeds the hour of play to be completed, which gives us a total lifespan of between eight and ten hours depending on your talent as a detective of the strange. For a price of 12.99 € the quality / quantity / price ratio is very surplus and makes us simply regret the absence of a bundle bringing together the two complete games at a reduced price as can be found on the Microsoft Store. The economy is only a few euros but it’s always taken to value those who trust the independent developer and dive directly into the complete saga without even having tested it.