There are very few instructions in the game - a list of components, a message describing that you’re solving a case and can use anything you have access to to help with the case, and how to input your answer to the case (online through a website).
The components are basically a bunch of evidence - some case files, a newspaper, some photographs, a letter, etc. The story is that a journalist was gathering all this evidence for an arson case and then he got arrested, so he sent you the evidence to prove his innocence and find the real culprit. During the game you read through the evidence, solve some puzzles, and then determine who the culprit is.
There is also a hint website online that goes over the evidence and puzzles. It’s broken up into each suspect, so if you’re having a tough time with one of the suspects you can check the site. It will tell you what you can determine from the evidence for that suspect, and then you can use that information in your final decision.
The box comes with a bunch of realistic evidence and notes
I played through the game by myself and it took around 90 minutes. It reminded me of The Tale of Ord, a puzzle game I reviewed a while ago. But I completed this case in one sitting, so it was a lot less involved (and a lot less expensive) than The Tale of Ord.
Since the game was originally in German, I was worried there might be translation issues. Luckily, everything was translated well and easy to understand in English. One of the puzzles had unclear wording in the instructions, but it didn’t seem like that was due to translation.
Everything was pretty immersive and seemed like it came from the real world. Even though the locations were all made up, I thought they were real and spent some time looking on Google Maps to see if I could find them. I had all the evidence splayed out on the floor, checking things on my computer once in a while, and it made me feel like a detective. My husband even commented that I looked like an investigator when he walked into the room as I was playing!
There were a couple of puzzles in the game, but most of the time was spent piecing together the evidence given to determine the motives and alibis of different suspects. This made the overall game pretty easy and it was a relaxed experience compared to other puzzle/detective games I've played. Since it didn’t require as much thought as I was prepared for I was a little disappointed, but overall I had a fun experience playing the game and I’m looking forward to future games in the series!
Immersive open-ended gameplay makes you feel like you’re really investigating
Has decent help/hints online
Comes with a component list
Can be reused (by a different group)
Untimed detective style game
Need the internet
Need a Facebook account
Pretty easy since most of the investigative work seems to be done already
If you're interested in Detective Stories: Case 1 - The Fire in Adlerstein, it's available now.