Throughout the holidays, we have indulged in discussing our favorite games of 2023. However, let me introduce you to another game that captured my attention over Christmas. Makoto Wakaido’s Case Files Trilogy Deluxe is not just your typical collection of three detective stories. Instead, it offers an intriguing selection of four murder mysteries set in various towns and villages across Japan. If you relish the investigation aspects of Ace Attorney and desire something to whet your appetite until the release of the Apollo Justice Trilogy on January 25th, then this game is custom-made for you. Currently available at a mere five pounds in the Steam Winter Sale, with the added bonus of a free demo, Makoto Wakaido’s Case Files Trilogy Deluxe is an absolute steal.
Originally, I had intended to review this game when it was launched in the middle of October last year, but alas, time got the best of me. The beauty of this game lies in its brevity; each case can be solved in just over an hour. Like a gripping serial police drama, you can easily binge-watch all the cases in one go and wonder where your afternoon went. What sets this game apart is that you have the freedom to play the cases in any order, although I recommend following the numerical sequence as presented. While the cases are independent, there are certain mentions and connections in later cases that refer back to earlier ones. For example, the first case titled “The Executioner Linchpin” sets the stage with Makoto’s grandpa recounting an old case from the 80s involving a series of mysterious beheadings. Subsequently, you take control of an adult Makoto in the second case, “The Bogeyman’s Woods,” and delve further into his story as a growing gumshoe. You find yourself navigating a vast rural estate and its adjacent forest to uncover the truth behind several deaths and disappearances.
A Cascade of Twists and Turns
The third case takes an unexpected turn as Makoto himself becomes framed for murder, delivering a thrilling Ace Attorney-style twist. Lastly, the fourth case presents a classic locked-room mystery, trapping you in a spine-chilling, haunted hotel during a storm. As you venture through various scenes, your main objective is to gather evidence and interrogate characters to collect new clues and leads for your investigation. Utilizing your notebook, you can also discuss specific clues with individuals, raising the potential for new dialogue options. This process closely resembles the practice of presenting evidence in Ace Attorney, minus the customary finger-waggling and dramatic courtroom exchanges. Once you have gathered all pertinent leads within a chapter, you will enter Makoto’s pillar-based mind palace to deduce your findings and determine your next steps. The gameplay mechanics are elementary, allowing for an entertaining experience. However, the cases themselves are brimming with intricate twists and turns that keep you guessing and fully immersed in the narrative. These elements bode well for the developer’s upcoming title, Urban Myth Dissolution Center, which shares a striking resemblance and is slated for release later this year.
In addition to its captivating gameplay, Makoto Wakaido’s Case Files Trilogy Deluxe boasts an intuitive interface that effortlessly guides players. The game ingeniously signals when an area has been thoroughly explored for clues, preventing aimless wandering or repeatedly conversing with the same characters. Furthermore, your notebook highlights which characters can shed light on specific clues, saving valuable time and energy if you encounter any roadblocks.
As an added bonus, the current Steam Winter Sale offers the game at just over six pounds, with a free demo available for those seeking a trial before making a purchase. Even at its regular price of eleven pounds, Makoto Wakaido’s Case Files Trilogy Deluxe remains an excellent value, providing approximately six hours of top-notch detective work.
With its immersive storytelling, captivating gameplay mechanics, and compelling mysteries, Makoto Wakaido’s Case Files Trilogy Deluxe is a must-have for fans of detective games. Embark on a thrilling journey through the minds of criminals and unravel the secrets that lie within the secluded towns and villages of Japan.