Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill Review: Great Story, Cluttered Mess
There’s a serial killer on the loose and as a pair of detectives, you’ve just found key evidence that can identify him/her amid a pile of junk. In the real world, you would immediately bag & tag the evidence to have it analyzed ASAP before the killer has a chance to strike again.
If you’re the pair of detectives in G5 Games’ hidden object point & click puzzle adventure game Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill, you would then be required to find a variety of useless trinkets along with a contextual tool that’s used to open a hidden panel to reveal a puzzle to solve that the killer set up to slow you down. Then chances are, you will notice a missing piece of the puzzle requiring you to backtrack to the pile of junk to find it and even more trinkets before solving the puzzle to find some clue that could have verified the information gathered from just analyzing the evidence found in the first search.
On paper, Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill sounded like an excellent mix of hidden object and point & click adventure gaming. Investigating a crime—in this case, a series of brides to be getting murdered—is pretty much a hidden object game of looking for clues and evidence. The point & click adventuring stemmed from improvising bypasses through obstacles or connecting the evidence to the killer. The plot, soundtrack, and game visuals presented an excellent story that made me feel a sense of urgency in investigating quickly and thoroughly to stop the psycho from committing more atrocities.
But the repetitive hidden object hunting and backtracking mentioned in the second paragraph Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill break the flow of its gripping story to frustrating levels. After acknowledging that a stuck door could be pried loose with a crowbar and finding said crowbar in the trunk of a car, I wanted to now use the crowbar on the door and maybe find a surviving victim. But Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill would not let me collect that crowbar until I found a bird feather, a garden gnome, and a spider during the hidden object portion of this level. Additionally, some of the touch screen interactions to manipulate the tools on background objects felt like needless delay. Since the characters that I’m playing as are high ranked detectives, can I just presume that they know how to use a screwdriver?
Then there are the puzzles. Some fit organically with the story such as shutting off the flow of hot steam that covered the door I needed to get through. Others are some bizarre locks or sliding block puzzles that get thrown in. Thankfully, there’s a skip feature that I could not press fast enough when I was severely pressed for time before my mobile devices’ battery waned. The detectives often lean on the fourth wall commenting that the killer is treating things like a game. But given the elaborate set ups and mechanisms of these puzzles, I was disappointed that the killer was not The Riddler.
Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill could have been a well-executed game featuring tight pacing and immersive story if the hidden object aspect were more organic to the story. An improvement would have been to require the player to find the objects needed to progress through the story while making the search for ancillary hidden objects optional to unlock achievements or bonus features.
But if you’re in it for the hidden objects and puzzles, the sheer number of both does make Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill a good bang for your buck.