Not every game is a huge hit. Some good games just go under the radar a bit. One particularly good hidden gem is The Darkside Detective, an episodic point-and-click adventure game that’s just the right for the last few days of October.
In The Darkside Detective you play as Detective McQueen, the titular Darkside Detective, and his partner Officer Dooley, a dim-witted, lazy, conspiracy-loving stick-it-to-the-man cop who is blissfully ignorant of how conflicting his identity is. Together they are the Darkside Devision, an underfunded and underappreciated paranormal investigation branch of the Twin Lakes Police Department.
The Darkside Detective is like a more version of a classic Lucas Arts or Sierra point-and-click adventure game. You unlock cases that span just a few screens, picking up items, using items on other items, and just clicking on things to see what dialogue the game gives you. It’s nothing revolutionary but it is a delightful, from it’s blocky pixel presentation to the goofy characters.
McQueen and Dooley are where most of the charm lies. McQueen takes the lead as the guy who is a bit over his head Guybrush Threepwood-ing his way through paranormal problems while Dooley plays the part as the lovable doof of a sidekick. If you’re a fan of the humor in the Monkey Island, Sam & Max, or King’s Quest games you’ll probably love the offbeat dry jokes in The Darkside Detective. The writing constantly funny and I found myself going out of my way clicking on every object in the game just to see what kind of exchange I’d get for my troubles.
The game also has a surprising amount of heart. Most point-and-click games would be content with gags and parody, but McQueen and Dooley have a refreshing friendship throughout the series of cases. Off work, McQueen attend’s Dooley’s family diners, wood scout outings, and Christmas shopping trips. He has a genuine interest in his parner’s life and safety. And Dooley, as oblivious as he is some times, still likes tagging along and appreciates spending time with McQueen even if it’s a trip to crappy tourist trap in the middle of the desert. By the time I got to the cliffhanger ending I was down to find out what more is in store for the duo in the second season.
It’s hard not to recommend The Darkside Detective if you’re looking for a treat this Halloween. It’s a fun, witty little game that doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you’re in the mood for some spooky sleuthing or eerie investigating in between trick-or-treater visits, The Darkside Detective can fill that role.
Zachary Long occasionally writes on TAY and can be found on Twitter, Stem, PSN, and pretty much everywhere else as InvadingDuck. Currently playing: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Yakuza Zero, and Dragon Quest 8.