Jenny LeClue Detectivu
Genre: Adventure, Lifestyle, Platformer, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 26/08/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Adventure game Jenny LeClue – Detectivu was successfully funded via crowdfunding in 2014. The campaign was managed on Kickstarter with an original goal of $65,000. By the end of the campaign, developer – Mografi had raised a staggering $105,797, and so Jenny LeClue was born.
The Kickstarter featured stretch goals that marked the game as a trilogy, with three separate titles. Jenny LeClue – Detectivu is the first in this series. Whilst its impeccable writing, strong voice acting, and a compelling narrative immediately make it worth a look, the real question is do these elements hold up throughout the game? Well, come with me as I review Jenny LeClue – Detectivu…
The plot of Jenny LeClue – Detectivu centres on the murder of Dean Straussberry, and in a twist of fate Jenny’s mum ends up as the prime suspect. As a good detective, Jenny refuses to rest on her laurels and instead begins working on the case. The story keeps you hooked throughout, and the initial murder mystery ends up being much deeper and more intricate than it first appears. The town of Arthurton hides so much more than first glances would reveal.
What makes the story more interesting is that it’s a story within a story, and is one that’s not afraid to break its own 4th wall. Jenny LeClue happens to be the star of her own successful book series. Written by Arthur K Finklestein, the Jenny LeClue books have been in a steady decline for a number of years. With Arthur’s publisher on his back to create a more dramatic narrative, Arthur decides to try anyway. Even though his basic instinct is to keep things in Arthurton relatively safe for its residents.
Whilst you primarily play as Jenny LeClue. On occasion, the game switches perspective to Arthur in his study, wracking his brain about what to do with the novel given the pressure he is under. Occasionally during these moments, there will be a back and forth between Arthur and Jenny as he attempts to push the story forward while she hesitates against his direction. Whilst breaking the 4th wall between game and player isn’t uncommon, Jenny LeClue – Detectivu does it in a different, yet effective way. And it’s one that works wonders considering the tale being told.
Gameplay consists of moving from place to place while conducting investigations of people you meet and specific scenes of interest. During certain situations, Jenny will engage in a focused interrogation phase where you use a cursor to highlight key features of a scene to acquire more information to eventually make a deduction. A handful of other segments involve pushing objects around to give Jenny access to ladders and ledges. While others task you with solving basic puzzles such as, determining the correct sequence of buttons or rotating a stack of circles so that arrows on them all point in the same direction. Overall, while the puzzles are basic and don’t necessarily make up the core of the game. They can be a little repetitive at times due to a lack of variation in them.
The rest of your time will be spent exploring locations and finding collectable items much like a traditional adventure game. Throughout Jenny’s adventure, we’re able to collect various postcards and stickers which get added to a collection. What’s also great is that with the stickers we find we can use these to decorate Jenny’s notebook. It’s a nice touch which allows you to add a little customisation to Jenny.
The journal is also used to keep a record of your “Chooiness,” which is a representation of the choices you’ve made. In my playthrough, I encountered quite a few different choices, with there still being a few left for me to find. A handy Scene Select option allows you to return to one of the scenes in the game, and a New Game+ option gives you the chance to restart from the beginning while keeping your collectables and progress.
On the presentation side, Jenny LeClue – Detectivu oozes style and flair. The art style leans on a more cartoonish side. It works incredibly well with the games more light-hearted tone. There is a clever use of the camera which zooms in and out at different moments to emphasize the scale of certain environments. The variety of colour and amount of detail is also quite impressive. There’s a great use of Autumnal browns and oranges that are used to represent the day time scenes. Whilst these fade to soft purples and blues when it comes to night.
Text is also easy to read, and this even translates to the Switch Lite and its smaller screen. The animation is also great and is incredibly fluid in its design. Each character is also well designed, and each has small added touches that play into their distinctiveness from each other. How both Arthur and Jenny interact is also cleverly done, and on occasion, if you pick a choice for Jenny that Arthur disagrees with, the writer will make his thoughts known. Its little touches like this that serves to humanise the cast and its one thing that Mografi has done incredibly well on.
Aside from the clever story and the gorgeously designed characters and world. The real star of Jenny LeClue – Detectivu is its sound. The musical score throughout is wonderful and plays into the mystery of the game. Whether it’s in the spooky nighttime graveyards or interrogating a suspect, it captures each scene perfectly and drags you into the world. The vocal cast also put in an inspiring performance and I can’t applaud their work enough. The game is fully voiced and each of the main cast is expertly brought to life
Jenny LeClue herself is naturally the main cast member we spend a lot of time with. She starts the game as someone who’s a bit too clever for her own good. As we progress through the game we do get to see that she is someone who is very driven and does have a bit of an ego to boot. In contrast to Jenny, Arthur’s voice is very warm and friendly and does a wonderful job in narrating the story. The side characters are also fully voiced. One particular mention goes to resident Town conspiracy theorist – CJ. If you think of Doc Brown mixed in with Uncle Fester (yes, two Christopher Lloyd characters) then you’re on the right tracks.
When it comes to performance the game ran quite well. Jenny LeClue – Detectivu isn’t a game that’s going to push the Switch to its limits like others. Playing the game in both docked and handheld mode offers very little in variation. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the text remained readable in handheld mode, as this is a recurring problem that the Switch has.
I was also surprised to see that the Switch’s touchscreen has also be implemented, which massively helps the game be more accessible to every gamer. Sadly when testing this function out I found it to be a little clunky and slow when compared to using a controller. That’s not to say that the touchscreen isn’t functional as a gameplay tool, it just wasn’t to my personal preference. Other than this, I didn’t encounter and other bugs or issues that impeded my playthrough in any way.
As someone who’s not naturally fond of this style of game, I instantly fell in love with Jenny LeClue – Detectivu. Whilst the game isn’t perfect, it does a great deal in setting up the potential Jenny LeClue trilogy. Everything from the voice acting, character design and world is spot on. Which results in a mystery game that is both hard to put down and accessible. The puzzles can be a bit too easy and repetitive but this is only one tiny issue when compared to everything else. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for both Jenny and Arthur and much like a good book, this is one game that you really should experience.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Jenny LeClue – Detectivu on the Nintendo Switch eShop by clicking here.