arrow drop search cross


Jun 30, 2023

Crime O’Clock Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $19.99
We Recommend: $19.99
  • Developer: Bad Seed
  • Publisher: Just For Games
  • Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
  • Released: Jul 21, 2023
  • Platform: Windows, Switch
  • Reviewed: Windows

Crime O’Clock mashes up the genres of detective with hidden objects for an incredibly satisfying mix that will make it hard for games like it to follow. From moment one, the gameplay clicks and you’re immediately invested in finding wrongdoers and bringing them to justice. Bad Seed did well to take a game about finding things, and add a layer that worked well with it, and they chose a “Minority Report” style detective and time travel layer seems to be the perfect compliment to it. All of this is presented with a hand-drawn art style, where everything is monochrome except for splashes of color at specific times. The result with this game is that it offers a melding of genres is clever and unique ways that really pay off, you’ll definitely want to make time for Crime O’Clock .

CrimeOClock review1

This is a story-driven game, and as such the things you’ll be finding are going linear and have to be found in a specific order. And since there’s a story to tell, this does come at the expense of the gameplay, unfortunately. This happens in the form of the AI talking a lot, pausing gameplay, or otherwise interrupting. Since this is part of an investigation, each time you find something, it moves the story along to find the next clue and so on. It was disruptive at first, but the longer I played it, the more I got used to it and it wasn’t so bothersome. The same AI is also used as a helper, if you can’t manage to find an object, but it’s worth noting that I never used it once. Everything felt pretty intuitive, and despite the massive detail, I was always able to find what I was tasked with looking for.

While the game is mostly presented in black and white, all of the art is hand-drawn and is impeccably detailed, allowing you to zoom in real close to ensure you find what’s needed, or discover some easter egg. You’ll be tasked to scour these massive images to move the story forward, and they get more intriguing as you go on. As you investigate these clues, you’ll unravel a mystery bigger than each individual case. One of the most clever things about it, is not the detective or hidden object finding, it’s the time travel. The game masterfully utilizes locations and periods in time to shift similarly looking areas from the past, in fiction, and to the future with ease. It’s really fun seeing the same map, used in a different configuration that doesn’t feel samey, but rather familiar yet totally foreign.

CrimeOClock review2

There are five ages of time that you will traverse, the Steam Age, Atlantean Age, Information Age, The Lost Age, and The Aeon Age. Each one has its own aesthetic, cast of characters, and marvels. From magic to mythology to technology, there’s something unique to each that feels refreshing and fun to just look at and explore. Cases will utilize everything on the map, so it’ll be wise to memorize what you can, because you’ll recall the things that stand out. There are ten ticks that represent different periods of an event the leads up to and after a crime, you won’t be able to freely switch between these times, but you will be shifting between them. As such, it’s fun seeing the template shift around as people, things, and events move around in the same location.

During a case, the AI will jump in and ask you to solve simple puzzles like matching glyphs, rotating pieces, or other tasks that don’t ask a lot of the player, and are also timed. Though the consequences are essentially zero for failing them, as Crime O’Clock wants to keep things going in the right direction. However, the downside is that this interrupts the flow of finding things. So this does come to be at odds where the hidden object game conflicts with the detective elements. I’m not sure there’s a better solution, but it kept the gameplay varied throughout.

CrimeOClock review3

There are over 40 cases to solve, some of them intersect with one another, directly or indirectly. All-in-all, you’re looking to have at least fifteen hours of playtime with just the main story alone. This is unheared of for this genre. While a lot of the game is devoid of color, each case is themed by one color like orange, red, cyan, or lime that is the name of the case and the single most identifiable part of the case. In playing the game, it’s all mouse controlled, so you’re never needing to use the keyboard for any action. My favorite thing, is that wherever the cursor is, you can zoom in and out from there and the camera will adjust. It feels smart this way.

Crime O’Clock has its story mode, but there’s mini-games and “Fulcrum Stories” that let you follow individuals throughout their day, and they have completely different objectives than that of the main game. Thiss is a game that offers lots to do, and many ways to enjoy the game, and it’s something I can’t recommend enough. Spend enough time in these places, and you’ll discover all the pop culture references hidden away.

CrimeOClock review4

Crime O’Clock is as clever as it is cool, and offers help when needed, but not when it’s unwanted. The game is wholly enjoyable, and its only real issue is pacing and momentum due to the interruptions of finding things by the AI as it serves to move the detective story forward. It is a game that is deliberately casual, and can be played by kids and adults alike. I actually spent a lot of the game with my kids, in a race to find the object we were tasked with finding. Bad Seed smartly twists genres of hidden object and detective games. Crime O’Clock is a great way to wind down, and is one that’ll be remembered for the ages.

A Steam code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes