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About the Story
New Losago, 1929 - a town full of creeps, clowns, mobsters and, if you know where to look, the occasional honest citizen. Guide private investigator Lanson Rose through a series of puzzling cases: solve the city's liquor supply problem in "Speakeasy Street", track down a missing food scientist in "The Big Pickle", and investigate strange goings-on under a dilapidated mansion in "A Study in Squid".
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Implementation; Nominee, Best Use of Innovation; Nominee, Best Use of Multimedia - 2016 XYZZY Awards
1st Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality Award - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
Rock Paper Shotgun
"Overall: silly, noir-themed goodness that never takes itself terribly seriously. The presentation captures some of the appeal of a parser, but with the accessibility of a choice-based game."
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"What I love about Detectiveland is its commitment to videogameness. It revels in being a little hokey, throwing in gags about 1920s gender roles, mafia stereotypes, speakeasies, and even a reclusive horror writer who is clearly a massive racist."
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Following Freeware - November 2016 releases
"The overall setting of Detectiveland is a noir detective thriller in plain black and white, but presentation is very much tongue-in-cheek."
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"This is a visual and aural presentation that pops: pretty graphics, some era-appropriate tunes, a clattering typewriter font, Detectiveland has been polished to the hilt. The core story is fun too, with no cliche of the genre left un-mined. Femme fatales, dangerous gangsters, corrupt politicians, it's all here."
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The Breakfast Review
"It recognises its tropes and it adopts a rather humorous attitude towards them without actually mocking them. We're here more to laugh with the tropes than to laugh at them. In addition, the presentation is delightful, with the typewriter font and the background music and the little snapshots showing the characters you converse with."
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 7
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I beta tested this game.
Detectiveland is a great game in a unique interface created by Robin Johnson.
The interface is a refinement of the one used in Draculaland. You have a parser-like interface, but instead of typing in commands, you have a menu of visible things and people and an inventory; you click on an object or person, and a menu of verbs comes up. One object at a time can be 'held', and this affects the menus of other nouns.
This is one of the biggest IFComp winners ever, with a minimal walkthrough taking 250 or more moves. It is split into 4 cases, 3 of which can be solved simultaneously.
You play a detective resolving problems in a square grid town. The game has graphics of speakers, and has really good humorous writing.
The game is written Scott Adams style, so many of the locations have very spare writing. This, according to the other, allowed him to spend more time on conversations and scripted events.
I actually hadn't played any Scott Adams games before this one; now I have played three, and this game is a straight send-up of those games, down to the split window and empty room descriptions. It's a perfect homage.
Detectiveland is a well-written call-back to the interactive fiction of yesteryear: the terse room descriptions and unguided exploration of a classic Scott Adams work mixed with the contemporary themes and concepts present in modern interactive fiction.
Music, sound effects, and visuals all work together to provide a compelling and tight experience. The writing voice is strong and firmly in line with the hard-boiled potboilers of detective fiction, while avoiding the blatant sexism and nihilism that pervaded noir.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments throughout the piece, and some of my favorite endings are the "bad" ones, which aren't differentiated outside of your experience. They all end the same, but the last moments, as chosen by the player, are relevant and and meaning.
The puzzles were a nice touch, and show a way for twine-like pieces to recreate classic "do what with what" puzzle design. Some of them were a bit obtuse at first, but the game aspect is very forgiving, and it's easy to attempt again. The game aspects deviate from classic IF in not being cruel; the game state can't be made unplayable.
This was a satisfying detective romp, and it's obvious why it won the 2016 IFComp. Very recommended.
A great cover tells you just what sort of noirish period piece to expect, and the gameplay presentation is absolutely top notch, with a deliciously atmospheric typewriter setup that fits the theme perfectly without being distracting. There are even vintage character portraits. This is one of the slickest and most professional looking presentations I've seen for an IFComp game so far.
Play-wise, it's a puzzle adventure, but rather than typing into a parser, you're given a few options to click on depending on context. I've seen Quest games do this sort of thing before, and it makes the game feel a little like one of the 90s' era adventures like Day of the Tentacle or the Monkey Island series. The positive of this approach is that you don't have to worry about syntax; the negative is that it's harder to come up with a surprising solution to a puzzle, since all the options are presented to you right off (the 'just try everything with everything' problem.) Detectiveland manages to pull off some neat tricks here, though--in particular, the last puzzle of the case I played, "The Big Pickle", hit right in the sweet spot for me, not too baffling but clever enough that I felt smart when I realized the solution.
Witty, stylish, and lots of fun--highly recommended!
Sunday Afternoon, by Christopher Huang (as Virgil Hilts)
Average member rating: (18 ratings)
It's gloriously sunny outside, and you can smell the grass from in here. It's not fair. All the servants have the day off, and you can bet they're not cooped up indoors in their Sunday best. If only there were some way to escape....
|Sand-dancer, by Aaron Reed and Alexei Othenin-Girard|
Average member rating: (22 ratings)
It figures that your pickup would die on a night like this and leave you stranded in the dark New Mexico desert. But nothing else figures about this night, man. Nothing at all. An example game for Aaron Reed's book Creating Interactive...
|The Fleet, by Jonathan Valuckas|
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
Take back your home world from alien invaders! Forge an Intergalactic Alliance (with untrustworthy allies) to reclaim your planet; blast your way to victory with an ever-expanding arsenal. Will you sacrifice civilian lives to exact...
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