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Detectiveland

by Robin Johnson profile

2016

Web Site

(based on 29 ratings)
5 member reviews

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".

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Current Version: Unknown
IFID: Unknown
TUID: noqmuesoxx4vb6qy

Awards

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)

Editorial Reviews

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."
See the full review

PC Gamer
"Using one of the best interfaces I've come across in IF, you'll take on cases, explore the city, and maybe stop to assemble a tasty pizza."
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Giant Bomb
"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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Adventure Gamers
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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Indie-O-Rama
Review in Spanish
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Narrativium
"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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Doug's World
"This is a polished, professional quality work. Definitely recommended."
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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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Member Reviews

5 star:
(7)
4 star:
(15)
3 star:
(6)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 5
Write a review


Most Helpful Member Reviews


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
It doesn't take a gumshoe to figure out this one's a gem, October 2, 2016
by Steph C
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
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!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A hilarious gumshoe detective game in a hybrid parser interface, May 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
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.

**Edit**

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.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, light adventure. Pretty much perfect., January 16, 2017
In the first scene, Detectiveland strikes a distinctive, familiar tone. A cold beam of hard-boiled cynicism, projected through a filter of coy self-awareness. From beginning to end, the exposition and action are consistently direct, sparse, and more than a little silly. The music and the type-writer theme complement this style very nicely.

The puzzles are fun, and the solutions are often a bit off the wall, without becoming unguessable. It helps that they don't all have to be solved in a particular order. For the better part of the game, there are three cases that can be worked on simultaneously or in any order. Some of the puzzles (including the last one) can be solved in several different ways.

See All 5 Member Reviews

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Recommended Lists

Detectiveland appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Detective and mystery games by MathBrush
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Doug's Top Ten of IF Comp 2016 by Doug Orleans
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Polls

The following polls include votes for Detectiveland:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Multimedia of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Multimedia in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible individual puzzle by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best individual Puzzle in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...

Cool Murder Mystery/Detective Games by Christopher Caesar
Hey everybody. I am looking for a murder mystery text game. I finished An Act of Murder a while ago and want to play more games like that, where to get to solve the murder yourself. If you could tell me some of your recommendations that...

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 12 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 18 March 2017 at 3:11pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item