Being a Spooky Detective (as agent Mulder might call it) in the town of Twin Lakes City is no easy task.
But in the new point-and-click pixel art game The Darkside Detective, released yesterday, Francis McQueen is the man for the job, investigating the “strange happenings” in a town where the “citizens are too dumb to notice.”
In the trailers for indie studio Spooky Doorway’s adventure game, you can see why Twin Lakes needs his help. As the game description reads, who else but McQueen can protect a town “where cultists crawl, where demons dwell, where the occult… occults?”
A parody mashup of iconic paranormal procedural TV shows like X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Twilight Zone, the game satirizes the unobservant residents who must inhabit all these towns that go bump in the night. One trailer shows a man watering his garden, happily oblivious to the pile of zombie arms flailing around in the dirt below him.
Other key features from the game include: the pervy ghost of Edgar Allen Poe, a viewfinder toy that gives you the power to see paranormal activity, an Evil Clown straight out of It loitering by a bus stop, as well as a few uncomfortable interactions with restless spirits and sea creature that have taken residence inside a toilet.
The game includes six of these eccentric cases, which McQueen and Officer Dooley must get to the bottom of by solving object puzzles and conquering mini-games. With music by Ben Prunity, the “audiomancer” behind indie darling Faster Than Light, the game oozes personality and atmosphere.
By far the most standout aspect of The Darkside Detective (which I played an early, game jam version of last year) is its comedic sense. Video games are notoriously bad at being funny, but I dare you not to laugh at the clever, quippy dialogue between McQueen, Officer Dooley, and whatever creepy crawly they’re hunting down.
The Galway-based Irish studio brings serious comedic chops to these trope-y, spooky scenarios. And the Steam page even boasts that the games comes complete with “cutting edge high definition pixels, at least three jokes, and one free curse-removal (up to and including mid-level witch hexes.)”
We’re sold. Just be sure to keep away from any high-level witch hexes, though, since those are not covered by your purchase of The Darkside Detective.