Published on May 4th, 2023 | by S. Masoud Kazemi
The Last Case of Benedict Fox Review @Rogue_Co @plottwistgames
Summary: The Last Case of Benedict Fox will be a good experience for Lovecraft and detective fans, if they aren't too picky with their games.
The Last of Case of Benedict Fox is a mystery side-scrolling game with elements of Metroidvania. As the name of the game suggests, the game is about a detective named Benedict Fox that is set to solve the biggest case of his life.
The game is set in two worlds. In the real world where you are exploring the mansion of Benedict’s father and in the Limbo world where you will wonder and explore the broken psyche and memories of the people who’ve died.
The story and mystery of the game are its biggest asset and the most important of them all as well. Because the studio behind the game knew what kind of game they wanted to make and which aspect they wanted to focus on more, they did an amazing job on the story of the game.
The mystery, how it unfolds, and how you solved is very good. The game tells the story via puzzles and mysteries you solve which gives the player the feeling of satisfaction. The issue I had with the story was that game doesn’t explain the fundamentals of the story very well. For instance, the game doesn’t explain very well why you have these supernatural abilities. And after a while, this will cause little issues for the pace of the game because there are times you are wondering for hours without knowing anything and then learn many things in a few minutes.
This issue can also be spotted in the gameplay as well. Certain doors are locked and you have to find the right tool to open them. But in some cases, you don’t know what tool it is nor know if you actually have it or not. For me, it was the purple barriers that blocked some of the passages. I had the right upgrade for passing through them, but since the game didn’t mention it until I changed the difficulty to easy, I was just wandering around for hours.
It is one thing to make it challenging by not giving a hint, and one thing to not actually explain what you need to progress through the game. Fortunately, there was easy difficulty in exploration that you could toggle on to help you. Not only in exploration but in combat and puzzle solving as well to make sure players could enjoy the journey nonetheless.
Although there are some issues regarding the voice actors of the main character and his companion. Both Benedict and his supernatural companion have deep voices, but the issue is that you can immediately notice the voice actors are trying too hard to maintain the deep voice, especially Benedict’s companion.
The next aspect of the game you will notice after the story is the unique and mesmerizing design of the visuals. Whether it’s the mansion or the limbo world of the characters, your eyes will certainly enjoy looking at the visuals. But it’s not just aesthetics, the visuals of Last Case of Benedict Fox are used well for visual narrative as well. The items you found throughout the game will help you understand what is going on. While they have a little text next to them, it’s actually the unique design of each item that will speak to you.
The situation with level design is different. The usage of art and how the level is structured in order to help the narrative is brilliant, but when it comes to the Metroidvania aspect of it, there are some issues. The most noticeable of them all is how frustrating it gets to go from one place to another and how the fast travel points are scattered in the game.
I wish this was the case for gameplay as well. As much as the story and narrative of The Last Case of Benedict Fox are great, the gameplay doesn’t live up to their level. The gameplay can be separated into two parts fighting and exploring which also includes solving mysteries and parkour of the game.
The fighting will be engaging at first, but it would take only one or two hours to learn everything and eventually, the challenging aspect of it will disappear. The good thing is, the story and mystery of the game will keep you going until the very end of the game. As for the exploring part of the game, the same applies to the parkour of the game, but not to the puzzles.
The design of the puzzles in the game was the biggest surprise of the game for me. Not only they are designed pretty well, but the variety of them is also surprisingly good. There are puzzles where you have to find a clue or picture to solve it that are easy. But there are also puzzles where you have to do the math to get it right or know the simple rules of chess. It certainly will challenge you to think hard in order to solve them.
The most neutral part of the game for me was the audio and music. From the start to the end of the game, I wouldn’t mind the music playing in the background and I wasn’t certainly mesmerized by it. But I have to give credit for designing the piano mini-game in the game that I’ve spent a good time trying to see if I still have the magic of music in me or not.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox isn’t the best or perfect indie game of this year, but it certainly is one of the most unique of them all. The mystery and lore of the game are not only interesting but will stick in your mind until you reach the end of it. Wished the gameplay lived up to the level of the story, but it’s not something that will make you leave the game unless you don’t care for the story. There are a lot of little things the game could have done better, but in the end, it is a fine detective experience.