Disappointingly for an old-school police adventure, at no point in Unsolved Crimes are you required to slide across the hood of a sports car. In fact, apart from the wah-wah-esque music, there’s not a lot about this game that exploits its ’70s setting. But that’s not really a problem, as the important business here is solving crimes. Obviously. As a n00b in the NYPD you’re working with detective Marcy Blake to solve a series of increasingly complex murders. (Some are almost comedically gruesome, such as the young lady found in pieces in a hotel room.) By investigating the crime scene and making deductions from suspects’ statements, you can piece together what happened.
Unfortunately, while this sounds like you’re handed the case file and sent on your merry crime-solving way, the game chaperones you, making everything pretty easy. Suspects are interrogated off-screen so you merely have to read their statements; some problems are presented as multiple choice questions, with certain options being laughably daft red herrings; and even some open-ended questions are phrased in such a way that you don’t need to use the ol’ grey matter too much. And there’s little reason to go back to a case once it’s solved (even though the ranking system might entice you to retry for an A grade) as replaying is just a case of remembering the right answers from your first playthrough.
Yet despite these shortcomings, Unsolved Crimes is still good fun. The stories are engaging, the stylus gets a workout with occasional puzzles and (slightly dud) action sections, and the game’s logic is almost always sound (though we did berate the DS once or twice because it wasn’t immediately obvious that the motive was random infatuation rather than long-standing jealousy). You’ll rattle through this in a couple of hours, but the compulsion to outsmart New York’s killers means that they’ll be a satisfying couple of hours.
Nov 3, 2008