Cannelé & Nomnom - Defective Agency [IFComp 22 version]

by Younès R. & Yazaleea

Mystery
2022

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Two detectives, no brain cells, November 17, 2022

Cannelé & Nomnom - Defective Agency is a game you can get a very accurate read on from just the title and summary. You’re an amnesiac who has hired the world’s most dysfunctional detectives to help you regain your memory. (They hate each other and are constantly wrestling for control of their single shared brain cell.) Your task is to keep them on track long enough to work on your case, and not get themselves into too much trouble – a tough task, given that neither of them have any morals and the fantasy world they’re in gives them far too many opportunities to wreak havoc.

This summary doesn’t even come close to doing C&N justice. First of all, this is the most polished Twine game I’ve ever seen! I am in fact COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by how much effort and polish went into this. There’s (timed!) sound effects, music, art, extremely good use of text effects, and even multiple custom minigames! (One where you connect the post-its on your evidence board with red string and one fully implemented graphical card game, so far). If the authors added more images this could be a full-blown visual novel. The writing is equally good, and the mystery is as compelling as the characters are wacky. The farcical antics of our defective detectives are balanced extremely well with the increasing hints that there is something very rotten in the state of Falaisant.

What I Liked

I already spent a while gushing about this game but this is my review thread, so I can gush more if I want! I already vaguely mentioned that this is set in a fantasy-ish universe, so I want to throw a spotlight on the worldbuilding. The game takes a little time to explain how magic works at the beginning, but from then on does an extremely good job showing and not telling. I never felt confused, but I also enjoyed the bits and glimpses of what Falaisant is like and never felt like I was being beaten over the head with lore.

Also, for anyone who watched Pokemon just for Jessie and James’s antics – you’re going to like this game. Cannele and Nomnom are basically those two with the player character having to act as their Meowth.

What I Didn’t

The writing is fantastic but could have used one last editing pass by a native English speaker (I assume, given the large amounts of French, that the authors don’t speak it as a first language. My apologies if that’s incorrect). There’s a few spelling issues and weird turns of phrase that could have stood to be ironed out. Also, The Contre Morte section was a lot of fun to play, but the delay in seeing the options pop up made it frustrating to go through multiple times (which I had to because I’m dumb). Still, these are minor things that in my opinion don’t distract from a very well-done game.