DS Review: Unsolved Crimes

Should you solve this case or leave it alone?

You’re a rookie detective – part of the Homicide Division. An aspiring model, Betsy Blake – the sister of your new partner – disappears. A loner is the prime suspect. But this case is a whole lot deeper than it first appears. Can you crack the cases the regular cops can’t? And can you get to the bottom of the kidnapping that’s all over the news?

Solve a series of 8 independent cases

Fully explore 3D crime scenes

On-going Kidnapping storyline

Five separate action games relating to the kidnapping story

Integrates 3D crime investigation, action and quizzes in a revolutionary way not seen on the DS

Innovative use of the Nintendo DS stylus

The DS has had a good history with mystery/detective type games like Phoenix Wright, but how does it stand when compared to a real detective and not a lawyer? Well, the game does have its share of issues but at the end is a compelling game that’s worthy of any DS owner’s collection.

Unsolved Crimes begins with a tutorial case which shows you the basics of the gameplay while keeping the game going. What makes it different is that you can walk around in impressive 3D and interact with objects, finding clues and the like. When you get a piece of evidence, you can also examine it in 3D so you can touch specific parts to get the clue, like touching the word of a spray can to know what colour it is, things like that. It sounds simple, but it gets a bit more complicated as the game progresses.

As you find clues, you’ll be asked to work out parts for your case. So you can be asked who smashed a window or who sprayed the graffiti, and only you can work it out from the clues you have. If you get it wrong, you get a badge taken away and when they are all gone, you must start from the closest checkpoint, so you need to be careful and don’t make hasty decisions. It’s a game of patience as the clues don’t always reveal themselves straight away, you need to look at each bit of evidence and try and work it out.

There is of course, more than one case. The whole game takes about 10-15 hours to do, so it’s not a huge, length one and it’s pretty good to do when travelling. It’s a pick-up-and-play type of game, you wouldn’t think it…but it’s quite addictive, trying to work out who did the crime and finding ways to prove it. For those outside of law enforcement, it’s a good way to play detective. The game does have its problems such as being very text heavy and difficulties moving around using the stylus and d-pad in conjunction whilst in 3D space. Visually though, it makes good use of the hardware. The screenshots don’t do it justice as it looks much better in motion. Trying to get clues, using the stylus can be tough as sometimes they aren’t always recognised. It works for the most part, but not always.

The Verdict

Unsolved Crimes is one of those great DS games that probably won’t do as well as say, Phoenix Wright…but I believe it should. It has some great cases to solve and some clever ways to do it, using the stylus in the best possible way. It can be tricky and awkward with moving around and perhaps too text-heavy, but it’s a game that any detective fan should get their teeth into.