Justin Case is a Private Investigator who is down on his luck. This could be due to the fact that he’s a drunken degenerate with little to no actual detective skills. Lucky for him he received a very special present in the mail, a domestic robot 9000 inherited from a long lost relative. The bot is not only good at cleaning, but it makes an excellent interrogator, and item storage device. The only thing that the bot is bad at is making jokes, and so Justin Case grants him the moniker Clown Bot.
Justin and Clown Bot follow clues to solve a variety of cases in the world. From simple things like a lost baton, to full-on murder mysteries. There isn’t much in the way of seriousness in this world, as Clown Bot and Justin Case are a duo of jokers similar to Sam & Max. Clown Bot tells awful jokes and breaks the fourth wall with a Deadpool like precision, and Justin Case is a boorish butthead who forgets the names of everyone he meets. The two will clash with the eccentric citizens of the city, while they attempt to solve a hotel murder case.
Like many adventure games you’ll walk about searching for items to help solve the case. The difference between Detective Case and other adventure games is the way that items are utilized. Once a set number of items are collected, our friend Justin Case and his jocular robot can interrogate suspects. Three dialogue choices will appear for our heroes to select from. Choosing the wrong one on the first turn will restart the process, but choosing incorrectly on the second or third turn will end the interrogation.
Interrogations are short mini-games that aren’t that difficult to figure out. In two or three of the choices, the player will be told about an item that can win the round. The unfortunate problem with the interrogations is the awful way they are presented. Since the item that is needed in the round shows up in the dialogue window, it’s not hard to figure out what you need to say. So when two options appear that say something incredibly similar about an item, and you select the wrong one… you’ll wonder what made that specific choice incorrect.
I think the part that irritates me the most about interrogations is the buddy system. Players can choose to be either Justin or Clown Bot during an investigation. This isn’t really a choice at all, because only one of the two can actually finish an interrogation. So you can soar through to the end of an interrogation and find out that you’re using the wrong character, and have to unnecessarily switch over to the second one and repeat the process.
I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this if the dialogue was better. This title is devoid of voiceover so it has to depend on its script to get by. Essentially, this is a comedy adventure that’s supposed to keep you snorting and laughing until the end. Oddly, the humor leans heavily on the high-school side of funny. Jokes are sprinkled around about underage sex and calling women fatties, it’s incredibly low-brow even to me… and I still make fart noises as jokes. It’s only escalated by the abundance of grammar mistakes that run rampant in the dialogue.
On the lighter side of things, the pixel art style is beautifully well done. This fictional European town has its own flavor, and a broad and colorful palette. Each of the characters has excellent animations, and from time to time a crowd will appear to applaud of jeer at our heroes. Voice acting may be missing from the title, but the music in the game is a mix of heavenly blues and jazz.
Detective Case has a nice visual style, but it hurts itself in every other area. Geek Citadel gives a “Genre Fans Only” rating for Detective Case and Clown Bot in: Murder in Hotel Lisbon. The graphical style is appealing, the gameplay is average, and the story hinges on comedic dialogue that isn’t really funny at all.
*This game was provided by the publisher for review*