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About the StoryYou're a gnoll. Whether that's a blessing or a curse is up to you. Unlike other gnolls, you're trying to eke out a simple existence by plying your trade - that of the world's first Dungeon Detective. Amass clues and present them to your client. Choose your partner or work alone. Eat some eggs. Or don't.
Show them you're not all teeth and claws, kid.
Nominee, Best Story - 2018 XYZZY Awards
12th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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And I did enjoy Dungeon Detective. You, Sniff Chewpaw, gnoll detective, have been hired by a dragon to determine the identity of the adventurers who looted your dungeon. So the game ends up being a choice-based mystery.
I played through twice. The gameplay involves uncovering clues that help identify the adventurers. For the most part, you're examining the same parts of the dungeon no matter what choices you make. Your choices do, however, seem to affect which clues you find and how much information you can glean from them.
The writing is evocative; it captured the feeling for me of walking through a dungeon, making decisions about where to go next and what to do. Also, the characterization is strong. There aren't very many characters, but they all have distinct personalities. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between the PC and the dragon; it reminded me some of (Spoiler - click to show)Grunk and the gnome in Lost Pig.
In addition, the major choices in the game mostly revolve around your interactions with these characters. Depending on certain options with them, the way you find various clues and the level of detail you gain from those clues appear to vary quite a bit.
There are multiple endings as well. Even if you successfully identify the adventurers, the story can play out differently depending on certain choices you made with respect to the other characters. I also liked how (Spoiler - click to show)the dragon still gave me three out of five stars on the ending where I failed to solve the mystery.
It was fun to play a gnoll. I remember them only as enemies in D&D games. I don't think I've ever played a gnoll before. Also, I like the idea of mashing up the fantasy and mystery genres. The combination of the two as displayed in Dungeon Detective felt fresh to me.
My only critique is that the game was a little on the short side. However, as I said in my review of Haywire, that's really another way of saying that I enjoyed Dungeon Detective and would have liked more game to play!
The setting is similar to D&D, with gnolls and dragons. The main character gnoll has caveman-like speech despite his intense intelligence, kind of like the narrator in Lost Pig and exactly opposite of the birds in Birdland.
It's a mystery game, and relies on the 'notice clues then pick the correct answer at then end' method of mystery writing. This isn't my favorite method, but the game's writing suits this style really well, as the clues are all based on worldbuilding.
The greatest flaw for me was how short it is. I wish that this game had been significantly longer.
If you enjoyed Dungeon Detective...
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 17 November 2018 at 10:00pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item