Scene Investigators Review – I love being a detective even if I’m terrible at it

Gare – Tuesday, October 24, 2023 5:29 PM
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Hello, I’m the guy who loves looking at every last bookshelf and every little piece of paper in video games, and today, we’re talking about a game that specifically expects – even demands – that you inspect every last bookshelf and every little piece of paper in it so you can collect information to solve each case. A match made in Heaven, you might say, and you’d be right: Scene Investigators is a challenging but extremely enjoyable “detective simulator” that really puts your deductive and observational skills to the test, and successfully proved that... I really need to up my game. Yup. Either way, let’s talk about it a little bit.

Leaving no stone unturned

First off, it’s worth explaining how the game actually works. You probably already know this if you’ve played the demo like I did, but for the rest of you: essentially, you’re dropped into recreated crime scenes and have to investigate every nook and cranny before answering a series of questions regarding various aspects of the case. Story-wise, you’re a budding would-be detective taking an exam, and the game is essentially your test. The crime scenes themselves are devoid of NPCs and there’s no one to talk to, but that only works in the game’s favor – there’s only you, the room you’re set to investigate, and the myriad of little clues filling its every corner. ID cards, phone records, bank statements, scribbled notes left inside trash cans: absolutely anything and everything can be thoroughly inspected for even the tiniest detail, but that doesn’t necessary mean it’s all going to be useful to your investigation. Some things are, while others will prove to be nothing more than red herrings, and it’s up to you to decide which morsels of information you need in order to piece together the puzzle of each crime scene. Sometimes, the game will try to trick you, so make no mistake: not every answer is straightforward, and you very much have to read all the fine print, so to speak, because what you discover at first may not be all there is to a certain mystery. Sometimes, new facts can emerge that completely change your understanding of a case.

Indeed, old-school players might want to whip out a pen and some paper, but if you’re feeling less traditional, the game does actually feature a built-in notebook system and the ability to take in-game screenshots, so you can easily keep track of all your findings or bring up your notes to cross-reference evidence. It’s just a really enjoyable process to enter an unfamiliar room and imagine all the lives and past incidents that happened to the people involved with it as you go and sift through their belongings like an overly curious burglar – and when things begin to fall in place and a metaphorical light bulb suddenly lights up inside your brain, it’s insanely satisfying. Or mortifying, if the results page lets you know that no, your deductions were actually not correct and that you’ve answered less than half of the questions correctly – I should know, I’ve been there.

Hidden clues, hidden tragedies

Naturally, uncovering pieces of evidence and putting them all together also forms a certain storyline in your head as you discover motivations, connections and relationships that often lay out the tragic backstories of each crime scene’s victims. Scene Investigators goes all-in with the environmental storytelling, and the stories it tells can often be heart-wrenching – make no mistake, though, this isn’t a narrative game, as nothing is spelled out for you: it’s all supposed to come together in your head. That said, I’ve personally had some really surprising “a-ha!” moments throughout my investigations.

If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t be: despite the constant need for careful observation and deduction, Scene Investigators isn’t just for the hardest of the hardcore. Casual detectives like myself can also find plenty of enjoyment in the game, as you don’t actually need to get a perfect score to progress – all you need is a passing grade, so even if you didn’t answer every single exam question correctly (only some of them), it’s generally still going to be enough. That said, if you’re like me, you’re going to find yourself wanting to go back to this or that crime scene over and over again to figure out why your guess was incorrect – or you could just take a break and move on to the next case. Sometimes, “just sleep on it” is the best advice to give.


I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve had an absolute blast with Scene Investigators. It’s a deduction game through and through, one that expects absolute focus and an unrelenting attention to detail, as well as a flexible mind capable of making reasonable deductions based on the information that’s available to you. Each crime scene has a hidden – often tragic – story to tell, and there’s an almost child-like joy to be found in sifting through every nook and cranny of a given location and slowly piecing together the intricate web of relationships and motivations in order to form a bigger picture. If what I’ve just described sounds like something you’d enjoy, or if you’re just the type of gamer that enjoys reading every piece of lore in games while inspecting absolutely every single thing in the environment, then I seriously cannot recommend Scene Investigators enough.

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