This point and click narrative game was created by developer Ben Wander, of the Wandering Ben. While having been a part of various AAA companies, Ben decided to leave in order to explore and contribute to the indie gaming community and movement. The game was in development for approximately two and a half years before being released on February 8, 2018. At first glance the game shows its unique artstyle and thoroughly saturated colors, giving a very nice visual appeal upon first beginning the game.
Story & Flow
The narrative follows private investigator Phyllis Cadence Malone in 1924 San Francisco. Having recently left the police force, Malone ponders her currently light case load and her future as a PI. While the game begins with an apparently serious encounter, the atmosphere is quickly dialed back before the main case is introduced. Meeting a literal colorful cast of characters from a humble bartender in a speakeasy, a local barber that specializes in information, and others, Malone is constantly presented with more questions than answers. The world of A Case of Distrust is very lively and dynamic, as various social issues are prominent in the game, from being a female detective, the distinction between the poor and the rich during the so-called Roaring Twenties, and more. While the issues may seem distinct and independent of another on a surface level, the game does well to have each issue intertwine with one another, either through the case or the main character herself. Surprisingly, the flow of the story is mostly dictated by the investigative ability of the player. For instance, being a fan of games such as L.A. Noire, I found myself quickly progressing through the story. By leaving the pace at which the story progresses mostly up the player, it gives them ample opportunity to explore, look for clues, or learn more about they world that they inhabit. All of which leads to a very immersive experience while piecing together the mystery that is A Case of Distrust.
The gameplay follows a simple point and click style commonly seen in visual novel style games. While including dynamic character dialogue options, the player is able to choose how they wish to interact with the characters around them. The player can also contradict statements given from NPCs through evidence or other statements, similarly to the “approve, doubt, and lie” mechanic of L.A. Noire.
Graphics & Sound
A Case of Distrust utilizes an art style known as Rotoscope, painting over recordings to give realistic animation as well as a dynamic color palette. This style of animation was most famously used in the very first Prince of Persia game. A Case of Distrust implements the style to have extremely natural character animations all while having a minimalistic style. This is most notable as NPCs appear as silhouettes only having a mouth and an occasional nose as facial features. The sound of game is extremely well done and easily places the player in the time period. A variety of jazz ranging from melodic to suspenseful sets the tone for each different character and location, providing a sense of identity everywhere you go.