- Play as two different detectives
- Engage with quirky characters
- Solve creative crimes
Methods: Detective Competition is a visual novel mystery game from Erabit Studios about a mysterious competition. A hundred detectives face off against one hundred criminals and each other for the chance to win a million dollars. However, if a criminal wins, they get a million dollars plus parole, no matter how heinous their crimes.
For the first few chapters of the game, you’ll play as Detective Hackett. Hackett is a tough guy detective whose sleuthing skills could use some improvement. Later on, you’ll take on the role of Nell, a more skilled detective who uses her special ability to notice minute details. While the characters’ personalities vary greatly, gameplay remains similar whether you’re playing as Nell or Hackett.
Solve the Crime
For each round of the competition, detectives work in pairs to solve a fake locked room mystery. You’ll examine clues strewn about the room and work with your partner to solve the crime. Upon entering a locked room crime scene, you must read the case file. The case file includes a quick description of how the victim was found and who the prime suspect is. Because these are simulations and not actual crimes, the suspects and victims often have humorous and fitting names like Mr. Cheater and Mr. GunHappy.
After reading the case file, you’ll want to examine all the clues in the room, represented by magnifying glasses. Tap each magnifying glass in turn to gather all the evidence. You’ll then need to talk to your partner. Typically, your partner will figure out the mystery before you do but will only give away the answer if you do some sleuthing yourself.
Deduce the Answer
Your partner will prompt you to make deductions and you’ll be given several different pieces of evidence to focus on. Choosing the correct one makes you look smart in front of the other detective and leads to solving the crime. However, choosing the wrong answer makes your character feel foolish. Typically, you’ll have multiple chances to point out evidence to deduce what happened.
You can’t actually fail to solve it, as you get multiple attempts to answer. However, if you make too many mistakes, your rank will drop considerably, and you’ll need to replay the level to continue. While the game is charming, it would’ve been a nice touch if you could get the answer wrong, as it would add to the challenge.
Besides needing to solve the crime, you’ll also have the option to solve a bonus question for each crime.
For instance, in the case of Mr. Paranoid, you’ll need to explain why he was hiding in the closet. Unfortunately, bonuses are way too easy to solve. Once you’ve solved the crime, you’ll have the option to ask if you forgot something. This will prompt the current player character and their partner to deduce the answer without any input from the player.
The Plot Thickens
Methods: Detective Competition features a compelling story featuring eccentric and humorous characters. For instance, detective Slakes is terrible at solving crimes but great at coming up with them. Meanwhile, his villain alter ego, Mastermind Sekals, can solve crimes but not create them. There’s also Detective 77-something, a strange fellow raised by clowns who prefers to stand on his head to solve crimes. No matter which chapter you’re playing, there’s always a quirky character or two livening things up.
As you progress through the game, you discover that no one knows who is running this mysterious contest or their motivations. In between solving crimes, a small group of detectives will begin working together to discover exactly who is hosting the contest and why. The farther you get, the more interesting the story becomes, and the end will leave you anxiously awaiting the sequel.
Between the engaging storyline and intriguing, bumbling characters, Methods: Detective Competition keeps you engaged throughout the experience. While the formulaic gameplay could use some spicing up, overall, the game offers a charming experience. The crimes are creative and fun to solve, even though it would be nice if more sleuthing was left up to the player rather than built into the story. Still, if a relaxing, comedic visual novel with crime-solving elements is up your alley, be sure to give Methods: Detective Competition a go.