We review The Shapeshifting Detective, an FMV-led murder mystery for the Nintendo Switch by developers Wales Interactive.
After enjoying plenty of kudos for The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, Wales Interactive is back with another FMV-packed adventure game, available now for the Switch. The Shapeshifting Detective delivers a similar style of gameplay; as with Doctor Dekker, you’ll spend the majority of your time interviewing various characters, to get to the heart of a mystery. This time around, a young girl has been brutally murdered in her bedroom, and it’s up to you to track down her murderer by speaking with her friends and cohorts.
Things aren’t that simple, however. As the name of the game suggests, you can actually transform your appearance on demand, morphing into any of the characters that you’ve come into contact with. Your own personal backstory plays a part of the overall mystery, including the reasons why you’ve been assigned to this particular case – but fear not, I won’t spoil anything here.
Switching characters definitely makes things interesting, as you can speak with any of the other cast members while in disguise. Hidden agendas and deep secrets are uncovered this way, which makes The Shapeshifting Detective all the more intriguing.
Of course, there’s not much variety in the actual gameplay. You won’t find any diversions such as puzzles to solve, for instance. Progression is literally a case of speak with characters, change appearance, speak with characters again. Rinse and repeat until the mystery is solved. Still, the game is split into bite-sized chunks, each of which represent an hour of in-game time, so it’s a great pick-up-and-play title. And I was still happy to blast through The Shapeshifting Detective in great chunks as the story and character interactions had me hooked.
Interviews are also spiced up with an option to ditch certain dialogue trees. Do you dare press the boyfriend on his sexual relations with the deceased, or skip the sordid details to save his embarrassment? I’m not sure how much difference these choices actually make to the game, but the mechanic certainly makes you think hard about your line of questioning.
The acting on the whole is fine, with recognisable faces cropping up from other FMV adventures. At no point did I find myself taken out of the moment by some particularly dodgy line delivery. And there’s even a bit of random radio chat that can be enjoyed between the interviews, although I rarely stopped to listen to what was being said.
If you’re a fan of FMV adventures, I’d recommend The Shapeshifting Detective and its engrossing plot. You can download now from the Switch store for ten pounds.