Darkside Detective is a love letter to all things 90's and it pays off in a big way. You assume the role of the "Darkside Detective", or "Detective McQueen", who works as a paranormal investigator for the police department, and you can tell right away that he gets very little respect around the office. Along with his hapless side-kick, Officer Dooley, you must solve six paranormal cases that range from famous dead authors stealing books to insane hired help who summon demons, use otherworldly portals and kidnap kids. You make your way through each self-contained location, combining items, finding clues, talking to witnesses and solving mysteries while laughing at a truly impressive amount of rapid fire 90's pop-culture references on your way to cracking these paranormal cases.
Story & Flow
Darkside Detective is a very simple and straight-forward point and click. There are six cases to tackle, with each case taking about an hour or so to solve. You can solve the cases in any order, and each case and situation is downplayed to the point where everything feels like a "day in the life" type of situation, instead of earth-shattering cases and shocking revelations. This tonal choice could have backfired, but instead, the casual attitude that McQueen displays in the face of the supernatural goes a long way towards selling the overall premise. Even when faced with demonic possession or murderous clowns, everything feels hilariously run of the mill, as if speaking to the ghost of H.P. Lovecraft is an everyday occurrence for McQueen.
Most of the "crime scenes" are comprised of multiple floors, be it a three-story haunted library or an upper-class suburban home with an attic and a basement, but the locations aren't big enough to get lost in. Each setting has witnesses and characters to question, and most of the time there are people to talk to who are both alive and dead. The way that McQueen takes everything as a matter of course is a constant joke in itself, and your sidekick Dooley is basically just a punch-line machine, providing a ton of humor in almost every room you visit. The game leans hard on the light-hearted, outlandish tone (like when you have to track down a computer password so a famous literary ghost can look up X-rated material on the internet), and each mystery has a few twists and turns, which is welcome; even if you are pretty sure the butler did it, by the time you figure out the why, how and who, things have gone from strange to ridiculous in fun and often hysterical ways.
The puzzles themselves are pretty simple fare, and rarely was I at a loss about what to do next. Granted, there were a few times where I got stuck, but most of the time I'd realize that I just hadn't read an item description fully, or I was just being dense. Most of the puzzles just involve reading prompts and then checking your inventory to see if you have the piece or combination of pieces to solve a given situation. Everything is pretty intuitive, and although the puzzles are mostly simple, they are still fun to figure out due to the sharp comedic tone and writing. You'll definitely want to click every item in the game to get the most mileage out of the title.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics are great, with an over-pixelated style that looks as if someone zoomed in too far on an 8 bit title. That said, there is a lot of detail to each environment, and loads of charming animations and designs. The music is perfectly suitable, and fits the tone and aesthetic nicely.