Every now and then I enjoy playing mystery and investigation games, you know, release my detective skills for a bit, just to see if I could handle being the next Sherlock Holmes. And I am pretty sure you do too -- otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article on mystery and investigation games -- so let’s get right to my favorite ones so far!
First up on the list is Paradise Killer. This game is set on a virtual island famous for… you know what, the premise is so convoluted and wild, I cannot explain it exactly. Here’s what developers Kaizen Game Works say about it:
“Paradise is an island that regenerates every few millennia. The psychic power that the alien worshipers within release into the universe is meant to feed and eventually resurrect their fallen deities. But this force also attracts undesired interest from demons, who eventually corrupt each island — until a new alternate reality is birthed by the Council.
The system isn’t perfect, but it will be one day — on Perfect 25, the next island-to-be. But on the eve of rebirth, the Council is murdered and Paradise is killed.
In the aftermath, the “investigation freak” Lady Love Dies is summoned from exile to find the culprit. This is the crime to end all crimes.”
In Paradise Killer, you’ll be taking up the role of Lady Love Dies, a woman on a mission to interrogate suspects and gather enough evidence to accuse someone of the crime.
I’m quite excited about this game, for two specific reasons. First, it’s an open-world game, meaning there’s a lot of freedom to roam around. Second, once you collect enough evidence and accuse someone, you’ll have to prove your case in trial, in order to get a conviction. Ace Attorney fans, this one’s for you.
Read Only Memories
If you are looking for a cyberpunk-style mystery and investigation game, then Read Only Memories is the perfect choice.
The story revolves around a journalist and a robot named Turing, who together set out to find their kidnapped friend, an engineer who had just created a new revolutionizing product that not everyone was a fan of.
Read Only Memories’ campaign is ten hours long, meaning you’re in for a lot of exploration, conversations, and my favorite part: multiple endings. That’s right, every choice you make sets your course into a different direction.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is probably my favorite out of this mystery and investigation games list. This is because we get to explore an authentic, open-world ancient Roman city. I am a huge fan of Roman history, so this is particularly thrilling for me.
The story follows a time traveler who is pulled two thousand years into the past and is forced to repeat the same loop over and over again. The time traveler is put inside a secret underground city with a population of 26. But there is a Golden Rule that no one can commit sins, and if anyone breaks it, everyone dies and the loop starts again.
It’s the time traveler’s mission to keep people from breaking that rule, in any way that he or she can. The player can do that by exploring, interrogating and changing things. Every decision in this game changes its course and ending.
Slender Threads is a point-and-click investigation game. The player takes on the role of Harvey, a traveling salesman forced to explore the shadowy town he finds himself trapped in. “Discover scenic Villa Ventana, the hillside community of empty stores and emptier people.” What a pitch!
Although I am not a big fan of point-and-click games, as they tend to be somewhat limited, this one gives players a bigger-than-average range of options. There are dozens of characters to interact with, and plenty of dots to connect.
Sadly, it looks like Slender Threads won’t be out until 2021. A playable demo was available during the June Steam Game Festival, and here’s hoping another round will be available later this year.
Lord Winklebottom Investigates
On a more casual note, there is Lord Winklebottom Investigates. This game has a very interesting plot and is set in the 1920s. The animal 1920s, that is, not our 1920s. The player will be taking on the role of Lord Winklebottom, who is on a mission to find out perpetrator of a heinous murder.
Don’t let the game’s zany children’s book aesthetic fool you, as Lord Winklebottom Investigates was inspired by Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, and beating it requires quite a bit of logical thinking. All in all, you can expect a classic British murder mystery.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is a 2018 game in which the player works as an analyst for the British East India Company and has to investigate that led up to one the company’s ships returning to port without a living soul in it. The player has to determine the fate of all the crew members, and whether they are alive or not.
Luckily for the player, the analyst has a magical watch which allows him to revisit the exact moment of someone’s death, which in my opinion makes up for a pretty interesting detective game!
This one is an old classic from 2011, that I just feel should be on this list. L.A. Noire is a game inspired by one of the greatest movies ever, Pulp Fiction, which is just pretty awesome and it was developed by Rockstar Games, which makes a nice combination.
It’s an open-world game in which the player has to do some clue-hunting and suspect interrogation, to come out with a conviction. Although it was developed by Rockstar and it does have some similarities to GTA -- like car theft, shootouts, arson, and other crimes -- it differentiates a lot mission-wise. It’s just a pretty good game with a thrilling campaign, and well worth giving a spin in the year 2020.