Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders is a no-brainer if you’re a point and click fan so put that sexy lil’ brain of yours in reserve for the gameplay. Comparable to the likes of The Darkside Detective marinated with the skill of Cloak and Dagger Games in terms of presentation, it’s also a serious affair. No rubber chickens or tentacle in-jokes.
I was taken aback by how good the game is. Granted, I have a soft spot for RedDeer Games and am accustomed to their line-up of titles. Still, it was a pleasant surprise. Note that the publishers haven’t given in to my bribe requests of white chocolate and bottled green tea – this is an organic opinion.
The title might be familiar if you’re a keen adventurer as Nupixo Games‘ caper is also available on Steam. For those not in the know, this is a detective-based game set during the Tang Dynasty. You play fresh-faced Di Renjie – relatively new to the game but hired directly by the Emperor to solve a series of murders after a prologue introduction. Yes – a serial killer is on the loose.
The visuals reminded me of the game and dev/publisher mentioned in the opening chapter, using a pixel art style that wooed even me, an on-the-fence type regarding the aesthetic. It’s perfectly suited to the Nintendo Switch, and other than a few black screens during loading that hang just a tad, it plays well.
We can’t hold Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders solely accountable for the console transition of moving a cursor with a stick, but it’s very sluggish. Though the game doesn’t encourage you to speedrun, you can’t beat a mouse. Fortunately, the touchscreen is great if you’re playing in portable mode, and that’s how I played this title.
Like any modern point and click adventure, there’s a toggle to highlight points of interest to alleviate that pixel hunting quest of old. It works well, and coupled with the relatively straightforward approach, there’s seldom a moment of not knowing what to do or where to go. In some respects, it’s a little linear but don’t interpret that as a negative – this is a very immersive game with one of the best prologues I’ve experienced.
Not only are the core themes engaging, but the character development is also excellent and the dialogue well-written. It’s not a talkie, so you have to read everything, but like a good book or, heaven forbid – a good game, it’s effortless to forget yourself and get absorbed in this historical tale of corruption, twists and problem-solving.
Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders isn’t just a point and click; the detective nature of the game is prevalent as Di will accumulate several clues to reach his conclusion. With each clue unlocked, an image will show how many more clues you’ll need to find before giving your smug assessment. However, Di isn’t remotely smug and a very methodical, intelligent character – they’re an extension of you!
There are additional puzzles such as riddles and even a game of Go, which wasn’t initially welcome on my part, very much like a game of cards in a videogame or having to play chess in Xuan-Yuan Sword 7. But, like the title just mentioned, the story is so good and the way each crime scene is handled, tastefully may I add – considering there’s a lot of murderings, this is a game well worth the port to the Switch.
The downside of the game? The save feature. This is user error/responsibility too, but the game only autosaves after completing a chapter, so you have to save a game manually. As I often play the Switch on the go and last thing at night, I tend to put it to sleep and return to it in the morning, but on two occasions, my progress was lost as one of my children played another game. In another instance, I went onto the eShop and existed Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders in error. The result? All progress in that chapter was lost.
The moral of this story: save regularly.
Other than that, I wholeheartedly recommend Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders. That’s not just a recommendation for point and click fans, but those looking for an engaging and responsive story that is both fulfilling and entertaining in terms of challenge and engagement. Yeah, I’m just filling in now: this is excellent; go get it.