30 years have passed since Famicom Detective Club made it to Japanese consoles. Unfortunately, at the time, visual novels weren’t a priority for Western territory and we weren’t happy to play it. Today, Mages and Nintendo teamed up to give the game a full remastering and release it for their portable hybrid.
Beyond the surprise of this alliance for the niche public; with this release, Nintendo ensures that you still bet on those small installments that do not necessarily live up to the name of a large franchise. However, did we need this delivery in the middle of 2021?
Enter the detective agency!
Famicom Detective Club It is divided into two installments, The Missing Heir being the first of both and The Girl Who Stands Behind, its prequel. The great advantage is that each installment stands on its own and they are two proposals that, in terms of narrative, include something different.
On The Missing Heir You will take the role of a member of a detective agency with amnesia. Through history, he will remember that he is working on the case of the mysterious death of the matron of a wealthy family and his mission will be to give resolution to his family.
On The Girl Who Stands Behind you will follow the story of a young orphan who begins his career as a detective’s assistant. One of his first cases will be in a preparatory school, where a young woman mysteriously disappeared.
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Knowing the Japan of the 90s
Although both games look the same aesthetically and share gameplay; the first installment will guide you through small Japanese towns, unfolding the characters within their own culture.
For example, the recurring characters will be according to the Japanese culture of that moment; and part of your research will include passages and legends that resemble the traditions of the region.
The Girl Who Stands Behind It is a different proposal in this sense since, by taking the role of a young man in high school, it shows us a more familiar environment to which Japanese animation works resort. And not only that! It will also begin to mix supernatural elements that will give the script a unique look compared to the first installment.
However, we cannot fail to mention that these games date back to 1988 and Mages’ work with both was dedicated to aesthetics. In terms of gameplay, you will find yourself following clues, reading and with very limited movement.
Remastering or remake of the Famicom Detective Club?
The remastering involves a change and aesthetic improvement in counterpart to the original delivery. Mages does not disappoint doing so, and boy! With the experience they have had from the hand of Steins; Gate Elite Y Robotic; Notes Dash… All illustrations of the characters and their movements give life to the Japan that reflects us.
Even the soundtrack, despite being subtle, fits perfectly with the context in which it unfolds. Now, for a more retro experience, you can also activate the music of the original game… You just have to keep in mind that it is very retro music and the beats are repetitive until saying enough.
Is this enough for the remaster? For the good and bad luck of the game, the console public every day knows more visual novels that are proactive in each of their mechanics. Some of the biggest works include franchises like Ace attorney, Danganronpa Y Zero Escape. Each of them always provided something new with their deliveries and managed to expand the audience of the genre in the western region.
If we compare the work of Famicom Detective Club With these, the game shows deficiencies in terms of game mechanics that could be worked on in favor of improving the user experience.
The game as such is contemplative when reading the texts, in English since it does not have a translation into Latin Spanish, and listening to the added voice acting only available in Japanese. However, this is broken down into that the game is linear and you will only seek to get the answer you want to hear to continue the story. The main disadvantage is that sometimes the game will not guide you through the options and you will have to repeat some dialogues for the characters to give you different clues.
Compared with other works from the same study, although Steins; Gate gives you the possibility to branch your story with different stories, its gameplay style is usually contemplative and not very interactive. Therefore, we are facing a game that delights for its history, for the construction of its context and narrative but that offers little in terms of playability.
An important point to mention, within this static world, is that being a franchise of Nintendo on the hybrid console… One would expect the game to allow you to use the touch screen… but it never happens! Coming from other visual novels on the console, and on other laptops, the lack of care in these details detracts from the experience.
The Nintendo that few know
Reliving this work more than thirty years after its release is a great success in terms of preservation and history for fans of the world of video games. In the end, Nintendo is characterized by being experimental and entering the world of visual novels with franchises such as Hotel Dusk Y Trace Memory.
If you are a fan of reading and are ready for about eight hours full of mystery, suspense in a not very interactive environment; either of these two deliveries of Famicom Detective Club is a perfect option (or both if you wish!). However, if you are looking for a purposeful mechanics title that will keep you on the edge of the seat, this title is not for you.
Let’s play Famicom Detective Club on Nintendo switch with codes provided by a Nintendo representative in the region.
Famicom Detective Club
Graphics and sound
9.0 / 10
- Give visibility to a forgotten franchise for new generations
- The narrative of both games allows you to live a suspenseful story
- The animation of the characters and their settings enhances the story.
- No touch controls
- Requires adaptations of the gameplay to modern mechanics.
- He becomes so attached to the original work that he loses valuable elements in the new generations.