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iOS (iPad) Game Review

Criminel: Paris 1890


Format: iOS (iPad)
Publisher: 4PM Game
Developer: 4PM Game
RRP: £1.49
Age Restrictions: TBC
Release Date: 05 March 2015

In Criminel, players must solve a series of chilling murders set among the smoky streets, hotels and dark alleys of turn of the century Paris. With a prototype camera and notepad in hand, players must use the very first forensic techniques invented to help uncover the secrets that will unravel a conspiracy, solve the case and reveal the killer...

Review imageI'm a little torn here, because Criminel has a lot of potential and could have been a lot of fun... but sadly it's way too short and a little fiddly when it comes to moving around the environments. You can easily complete it in an hour without rushing. It took me just over an hour and I was busy making notes. It's also way too easy, as you're handheld through the entire game. You can't leave the crime scene until you've found all the clues; you can't move on from the witness reports until you've highlighted all the relevant information and you can't accuse the wrong suspect (as your case will be thrown out).

You start the game as a police officer who is also a photographer with a keen eye, who is employed by the French police to photograph crime scenes. Along with the local detective you must travel to the scenes of murders, snap all of the relevant clues, talk to the witnesses and then deduct, from the line-up of suspects, who committed the murder.

As the murders stack up, it soon becomes evident that they may all be linked to a much bigger crime and so your job is to uncover this too.

Review imageI was actually surprised when the game was completed. There are only five crime scenes to investigate and I had assumed that what I had played was just the tutorial to a much larger and in-depth game. £1.49 might not seem a lot, but there are way more impressive offerings out there (and a lot of those are free).

For some odd reason (I assume to pad out the very short game play) after each section you must navigate a walled maze (which is really no challenge at all) and then enter a photo frame to emerge in the next part of the game. For some reason, at the end of every level, you are confronted with a shadowy figure with horns (looks like one of the developers is a big fan of the TV series Hannibal).

You can't get to the accusing aspect of the game without picking up all the clues, as the game won't let you progress to the next part. So you will always have everything in front of you to make the accusations; it's not like you will be missing any evidence and have to go back and reexamine any of it. And if you pick the wrong suspect it doesn't matter as your case is thrown out and you can pick a different suspect.

Review imageThere is no save option, so if you are halfway through one of the crime scenes then you'll have to start that scene all over again if you take a break. It does save the game after each suspect has been correctly accused.

Under the Options, you can change your camera mode (swipe, swipe inverted or gyroscope). Gyroscope is the most interesting option, as you can move the iPad around as though you were in the room. You can also change the camera speed.

It was also a little odd that you are told, at the first murder scene, that the body is the most important item to photograph, yet at later scenes you can't photograph the body.

While the game looks impressive, I wouldn't pay £1.49 for it, not when it can easily be completed in under an hour, and there's very little replay value to be had. It's a shame really, as with a bit more spit and polish this would have been a much more interesting game.


Nick Smithson

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