What should be an investigation game turns out to be more like a multiple choice quiz.
In a world where murder and investigation shows are all the rage, Unsolved Crimes seeks to capitalize on the fad with its own interactive journey. Players play the part of an investigator, piecing together a crime by collecting clues and analyzing testimonials in order to ultimately point the finger at the right suspect.
Unsolved Crimes features simple gameplay that should appeal to any demographic. Though not immediately obvious, the game is actually more a collection of mini-games than a full-fledged adventure. Each case can be broken into a number of steps. The first step involves a thorough examination of the crime scene. Players need to look under and over all objects, carefully inspecting anything that highlights when touched. Dusting for fingerprints and testing for blood and poison are just some of the forensic investigative tools the player is able to utilize. Uncovered clues will sometimes pertain to other puzzles, such as an ambiguous set of numbers which turn out to be a combination for safe that contains more clues.
Upon completion of the crime scene investigation, players perform the second step, a series of challenge questions presented to you by your partner. The questions presented pertain to the clues collected in the prior step, boiling down to little more than a multiple choice quiz. Furthermore, the questions are entirely obvious, making this step of the game tedious and boring. After a certain number of challenge questions are correctly answered, the player is able to choose the "Report to Abbott" option, in which data collected is presented to the chief, who in turn refocuses the case on particular leads. This brings players to the third step, which is merely a repeat of the first two steps, only with different sensitive areas on the crime scene.
Following the repeat of the first two steps, players are lead to the final and most interesting part of the game: determining the criminal. Players need to piece together the relevant clues and accuse the proper suspect.
Controlling movement during evidence investigation proves to be an exercise in frustration no matter which scheme you decide to use. The default scheme allows players to "slide" the screen which amounts to reversed horizontal and vertical camera control, while controlling forward and side movements with a touch D-pad on the bottom screen. The secondary scheme attempts to mimic your typical first-person shooter, allowing players to walk forward, backward, and sidestep with the D-Pad all while manipulating the view with the touch screen. However, the view manipulation is annoying due to its floaty nature.
Graphically the game looks great; rooms are detailed, well-textured, and fully 3D. Unfortunately, Unsolved Crimes is artistically hideous. The hand-drawn characters presented in the explanatory cut scenes are blurry and ugly, dragging down the entire presentation of the game.
Unsolved Crimes is not a terrible title, but it always feels lacking in some way across each aspect of the game. Due to its lack of challenge, players will rarely ever feel any real sense of accomplishment at the completion of a case, since the game holds the player's hand through each and every trial. Furthermore, the game barely penalizes wrong guesses, so there is never anything at stake, thus removing any tension that often creates excitement in similar games. Players hoping for another Phoenix Wright will be sorely disappointed, as Unsolved Crimes only reproduces half of that series' gameplay.