By: Short Sleeve Studio
Despite being a longtime fan of point-and-click adventures, there’s a lot of them that I start and never finish. This is usually due to either getting hopelessly stuck and not wanting to look up answers, or simply losing interest due to the writing or length of the game. Short Sleeve Studio’s Vooodoo Detective kept me engrossed to the end with its logical puzzles, swift pace and well-written story. The game also looks great, has a full cast of voice actors, and groan-worthy puns galore. If you’re looking for an adventure game worth your time and money, you’ve come to the right place.
In Voodoo Detective, you play as Voodoo Detective, a voodoo detective. He lives and works in the town of New Ginen on Zo Wanga Isle, which is almost unrecognizable from what it used to be thanks to chain stores like Island Ventures and the tourists they attract. While lamenting the state of things, he’s visited by a woman who lost her memory and wants him to help her find it. I know it sounds cliche, but I promise you there’s a lot more here than meets the eye and the payoff is absolutely worth it. Things start off fairly normal as you interrogate lawyers, bankers and businessmen. But, as might be expected with a game about voodoo, all sorts of weird stuff happen in the latter half of the game.
What pulled me in right away was the fourth wall-breaking humor and the chemistry between the detective and Mary, the woman he’s helping. The banter between them, backed up by fluid hand-drawn animations and superb voice acting, made it easy to get invested in their story. Once I got deeper into the mystery my curiosity was piqued and I needed to know how it would all unravel. I don’t want to spoil it, but it hits just the right level of silliness combined with thoughtful social commentary, all while incorporating the supernatural aspects of voodoo and the land of the dead. You might even encounter the lwas Papa Legba and Baron Samedi and learn something about voodoo culture.
One feature I loved was the big book of voodoo spells that you acquire early on in the game. When you’re not sure what to do next, it can help to leaf through the book and see if you have any of the ingredients for a spell. It can give you an idea what else you need and also what you should be attempting to do. It’s also just a really fun way to solve problems. There are no hints in the game other than what Voodoo tells you if you tap on him, but the puzzles are logical enough and there are plenty of clues given through dialogue for that to be sufficient. The few times I did get stuck for a bit, I managed to work it out and usually felt silly for not getting it sooner.
The humor was a highlight for me, and you can see from the start that it’s a huge part of the game thanks to some early fourth-wall breaking and slapstick comedy. I especially liked the play-on words, such as the Island Ventures factory being located on Ventures Island. There are other puns that I don’t want to spoil, especially one that’s at the center of the mystery. But it’s worth the wait. There are also running gags throughout the game. For instance, Voodoo can comment on every desk you come across, so make sure to examine them. There’s some visual humor, as well — Easter eggs if you will — which sometimes requires a more attentive eye to notice. And you can even find some alternate endings for a little extra fun. It’s all in the details.
Content is not all that matters when it comes to a point-and-click adventure. If they’re slow or clunky, that can also cause me to to quit. So I’m happy to say that Voodoo Detective feels great on a touchscreen and includes all the modern amenities like fast movement and drag-and-drop for combining items. There’s no hot spot locator, but you can run your finger over the screen to see what’s interactive. Also, no area is so big that you end up running back and forth for hours looking for what you missed. Interactivity is also very streamlined — you just tap on objects or characters once, no need for different action buttons. Sadly, there’s no iCloud sync, but the developers have expressed interest in adding it in the future. Other than that, I don’t have any complaints. The game was the perfect length, in my opinion. It took me between 5 to 6 hours to complete, traversed various unique locations, and didn’t overstay its welcome.
Voodoo Detective is exactly the kind of point-and-click adventure I needed to remind me why I like the genre so much. It was a joy to play from start to finish and I had a hard time putting it down. And while I appreciate that it had a reasonable length, I still hope to see more of Voodoo Detective in the future. If you like a good story with humor and logical puzzles, don’t skip this one. Grab Voodoo Detective here and discover what Island Ventures is up to.
And if you need help with any of the puzzles, try my walkthrough guide.
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