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Shadows of Doubt: Procedurally-generated hobo murder detective future-noir simulator

joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class TraitorSmoke-filled roomRegistered User regular

It's the future past! In the year 1979, technology has advanced to the point where sea levels have risen and cities are now isolated floating districts in the vast ocean covering what was left of Earth. One company, Starch Cola, has made advancements into synthetic meat which led to it being the first corporation to be elected president.

You play as a private detective, probably a homeless one. Your dream (along with the dream of everybody else in the city you have generated completely from scratch) is to retire to The Fields and live the rest of your carefree days in happiness and excess. To get there, you need to earn social credit, and the only way you know how to do that is to catch murderers.

Unfortunately, the cops are disinclined to actually help you catch murders and are really, really fucking bad at their jobs. In fact, once your scanner picks up on a reported murder, you really should beat feet to the crime scene and investigate before the cops get there and contaminate the damn thing!

All the crimes in the game are procedurally-generated, just like the city itself. You'll need to get fingerprints, search databases, dig through personal information, pursue leads, question potential witnesses, examine camera footage, etc. in order to solve the case. Once you have found the murderer, submit your proof to city hall, (optionally) arrest the culprit, and get paid!

Oh, by the way, when I say the city is procedurally-generated? I mean the whole city. Citizens have jobs and go about their schedules fairly predictably. Every single room in every single building that exists can be entered, searched, stolen from, examined, etc. You can literally go break into someone's house, drink their milk until you get nauseous, throw up in their toilet, and then loot their safe. And they don't even have to be related to your current case!

A suspect giving you shit and not helping you with a fingerprint sample? Climb through their neighbor's vents and find a way into their apartment, and get the sample anyway. No connecting ventilation to where you need to be? Just kick the door down and beat up anybody that stands in your way. Having trouble reaching the vents? Go edit your genes to make yourself super tall.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, this is a cyberpunk environment as well. You can visit genetic clinics to make yourself a better hobo detective than ever! I haven't looked at all the options yet, but my detective lady is about 7'0" tall and is immune to fatigue, cold, or being stinky. Yes, you can get stinky if you go digging through the trash or otherwise end up in a gross place, and being stinky will alert people to your presence when you're trying to sneak around.

But wait, there's more! At a certain point, the game picks one of the many denizens of your city to be a serial killer. And suddenly, you find yourself in a game of cat and mouse with the killer, trying to catch them before they kill again...

The game is in very early access at the moment. A lot of features are missing or bugged, the performance is not as good as it could be unless you have a nice PC, and occasionally you'll just accidentally fall through the floor of a building into the basement for no reason. But what's here is very neat to see. The bones of the game are tantalizing.

Yahtzee broke his own rule about never reviewing games in Early Access to review this one, and liked it:

Here's Northernlion playing a bit if you want to see gameplay:

ForarRhesus PositiveBigityEl MuchoShadowfire


  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Let's Game It Out "playing" the game.

    discrider on
  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    The game may be in early access but I have genuine fears about what will happen to me if the game gets any better.

    A Capellan's favorite sheath for any blade is your back.
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    Axen wrote: »
    The game may be in early access but I have genuine fears about what will happen to me if the game gets any better.

    They've said that they're going to eventually open it up to the modding community.

    Be afraid.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    I was playing this some today and was robbing a random apartment while between murder cases. Like you do.

    Usually there’s a note somewhere in a domicile that either gives you the person’s password to their safe or gives you a hint at what it is. Except in this one apartment, I couldn’t find dick.

    So I decided to try the person’s birth year. I dug through their tenant papers and found it, plugged it in to the safe, and bingo was his name-o! Safe swings open.

    And all that it contained was a note, reminding the tenant that the code to their safe was their birth year.

    BloodySlothRhesus PositivediscriderAxenShadowfire
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