Parents' Guide to

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Retro murder mystery is intriguing but tedious and obscure.

Game Nintendo Switch 2021
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir Poster Image

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While the story is intriguing, this is an average sleuthing experience that suffers from obscure clues and story connections, tedious gameplay at times, and a hefty price tag. Sure, those who enjoy murder mysteries will like interrogating suspects and piecing together comments and evidence, but a lot of the gameplay in Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir is using a pull-down menu to select actions before highlighting a person to interact with. That includes discussing events with a nervous maid, exchanging info with the authorities about the matriarch of the Ayashiro family, or hearing tales of legend and lore by villagers. Those with limited attention spans will tire quickly of this process, not to mention the button-based interface doesn't allow for touchscreen controls -- even though the Nintendo Switch does -- which would have sped up this Q&A process with the dozens of people you'll talk with. Looking for clues can also be a bit of a pain, as you must "window wash" the screen and look for key words to pop up, because sometimes nothing shows up and you must click on what you think might be something (and isn't always obvious). Similarly, you must select Think during a conversation to try to tie clues together, or else you can't advance.

Another issue for the game is the lack of English audio. Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir has spoken Japanese plus English subtitles. This is a major mistake when trying to market this game to a Western audience -- especially for a title that has so much dialogue that's vital to the story. This is all too bad, as there is a good tale here, and some memorable characters. And this game shouldn't be more than $10, especially when it's competing against so many inexpensive or freemium titles to choose from on that other portable gaming platform: your smartphone.

Game Details

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