LA Noire Inspires Our Indie Gumshoe Games


Posted May 17, 2011 - By Rob Manuel

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Indie Detective Games On The Case

So, L.A. Noire came out this week, and your wallet is as empty as a dive bar at 4 A.M., as flat as rush hour roadkill, and as poor as an overused metaphor. When someone has a nose for crime, however, they just can’t help that itch to get their hands a little dirty and hit the pavement. But if you’re poor as a twitchy surgeon, then you might want to buddy up with some of these indie games that won’t cost you your last copper.

If you’ve been following along, you already been snooping around some great detective games like Bela Kovacs and The Trail of Blood. But while the point-and-click style of gaming emulates detective work rather nicely, hopefully I can prove to you that there’s a whole lot more to finding a perp than just poking. Check out these indie detective games and turn yourself into a gumshoe.

Indie Detective Games On The Case

Goat in the Gray Fedora 

This first Nick Bounty case might be a little stale, but it's still one of the best point-and-click adventures you can get your trigger finger on. Some two-bit dame has lost her goat, and it’s up to you to go get her goat. Simple enough, but the mystery quickly devolves into a tongue-and-cheek caper that exploits all the noir clichés that you are probably too young to know about. The puzzles won’t hamper the way too many times but provide enough entertainment to keep you clicking through. If you happen to enjoy this slice of noir, you should also check out Nick Bounty’s second game, A Case of the Crabs.  

Indie Detective Games On The Case


If you are over the age of ten, then you already know the idea behind Minesweeper. Instead of clicking around, following numbers, and avoiding Bouncing Betties; you need to spring these traps filled with sweet clues. Like any good murder mystery, you have a body and a list of suspects. Special tiles reveal bits about the suspects or about the murder. Is he right-handed? Is he good with knives? Did they have an argument? The idea is to guess who in as few turns as possible. Pick the right culprit and you’ll get some loot to buy new abilities like starting off with more open tiles or taking a smaller penalty when you hit a red herring. 

Indie Detective Games On The Case

The Man with the Invisible Trousers 

Finally we take another look at the funny noir with this mystery turned platformer. Five detectives enter a room but only four come out alive. Somehow by finding the exit in each of the connecting rooms, you can get to the bottom of this investigation. The title comes from the fact that none of the characters wear any pants or legs for that matter. It’s not too hard to get around but it’s a little off-putting when you first see it. The laws of physics have also taken a hike since you can walk on the walls and fall through certain floors. It’s this slight bending of the law (Newton’s law, that is) that gives this game its kick. A fully-voiced script and some rather humorous lines will keep you moving forward even when you feel like you’re going nowhere. 

Indie Detective Games On The Case

Emerald City Confidential

Not everything is gold bricks and lollipop kids in the magical city of Oz. The world of L. Frank Baum collides with all the trappings of The Naked City as you search for a missing fiancée who likes to travel while keeping your eye on one well-dressed lion. There’s not too much wiggle room in this point-and-click adventure, but you’ll be in for quite a ride. Hand drawn backgrounds and two-dimensional characters greet you at every turn. This gritty version of Oz is a pleasure to poke through. You’ll have to hand over a little dough to take this trip, but it’s worth every nickel. Just watch your back. If you still want a good mystery with all the literary references, you should also try out the Alice is Dead series.

Indie Detective Games On The Case

Gemini Rue

Who says that all noir stories have to take place in the past? From the makers of Emerald City Confidential comes another slice of the noir set a hundred years in the future. While the war may not be familiar and the planet not our natural terra firma, the gritty world of criminals and detectives still comes through. You get to play as two different characters – one an assassin trying to piece together a mystery and as a man who wakes up in a hospital without any memory of his life. Beyond the typical point-and-clicking, you actually get to try a little stealth or use that gun in certain situations. As with their other title, the puzzles can be a bit easy, but it’s really all about the gritty story told through cigarette smoke and soggy streets. It’s the kind of adventure that would give LucasArts a run for their money. 

LA Noire Inspires Our Indie Gumshoe Games


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