So far, the DS has let us play as lawyers and attorneys, but what about the other part of the justice system? Hasn’t everyone played through an Ace Attorney game and wondered what it would be like to play as Gumshoe? While we may never know, Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles presents a pulpy alternative.
The game is a generally straightforward adventure title, where the player guides Jake through three cases. The cases can be played in any order, and are all unlocked from the start—it really feels like a collection of detective novels, and plays similarly.
Jake Hunter works like a point-and-click adventure game, with the player visiting locations relevant to each case, questioning witnesses, and gathering necessary clues. After a player exhausts his options, he can always head back to the office and take a break. Jake will reflect on the day’s events, and will present the player with a quiz based on the information gathered during the day.
If the player does well, Jake will figure out an important piece of the puzzle that progresses the story.
The game is told from the perspective of the titular detective, and this adds a distinct -atmosphere; even the in-game “hints” fit into the detective novel theme. Click a button, and Jake will pull out a loose cigarette and light up. As he’s smoking, he’ll talk about things he wants to get done, or places he thinks he should go: things a player can key in on if he gets stuck. Even the aforementioned office scene involves Jake relaxing with a hard-earned cigarette. Frankly, more detectives could use some of Jake’s flair.
While the game does a great job of providing an authentic detective feel, the story tends to hiccup in spots. While there’s no real penalty for taking breaks at the office, the story can hang while you fish for enough clues to advance the plot. Also, the dialogue can have some bland moments, but overall the story is compelling enough to play through to the end. Each of the cases has a very satisfying resolution, and there’s enough meat to warrant a couple plays through of each case.
Stylistically, Jake Hunter is a very compelling and welcome take on adventure games. The novel style works well, and there’s a lot of game packed into the simple point-and-click interactions. However, the title’s budget nature tends to show around the edges, which keeps it from being a stellar game. The game is still fun to play, and it’s not difficult to pick up. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of old school detectives.
Version Reviewed: NDS