Blending together some lite point-and-click adventuring with a bit of Sherlock Holmes-style detective work, Lamplight City will tick plenty of the right boxes for fans of sleuthing escapades (even if veterans of the genre might find it a little bit too easy for them).
Check out some screenshots down below:
Lamplight City takes place in the year 1844 in an alternative history with a steampunk-twist, with players taking on the role of detective Miles Fordham as he scavenges the city of New Bretagne for crimes to unravel. There are five cases to solve in total that each bring with them something new to investigate, though there is an overarching storyline that keeps everything connected and the player invested in what’s going on in Miles’ turbulent life.
One of the best things about the game is the versatility of these cases. Not only are there a variety suspects to investigate (and eventually accuse) and multiple endings to each case based upon your actions, but it’s also possible to fail them and leave them unsolvable. A lot of time is spent interrogating witnesses and if you upset them or fail to get a specific piece of information, you won’t be able to get to the bottom of the case. It’s a cool system that means players HAVE to be efficient with their approach, whilst the flexibility of each case does add some replay value to the game.
“Not only are there a variety suspects to investigate (and eventually accuse) and multiple endings to each case based upon your actions, but it’s also possible to fail them and leave them unsolvable.”
Or at least it would if the game wasn’t quite so easy. On my playthrough, I managed to solve each case and ended up with the best possible ending, with it often pretty obvious what you needed to say to individuals in order to get the information you need. The puzzles could be fairly simple too, whilst you don’t have an inventory that’ll allow you to combine items or use them on different objects in the environment – instead, if you have the right item, you’ll automatically use it if you interact with the right object around you. Whilst it’s something that I’m sure some fans of the genre will appreciate, it streamlined the experience a bit too much for me and alleviated some of the challenge that Lamplight City could have offered.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few moments where I was a little bit stumped, but it rarely took more than a couple of minutes of head-scratching (or a quick re-load of a save file) to get past the problem. It’s not that the puzzles aren’t enjoyable at all – in fact, there are some especially neat ones to solve – but rather that they rarely felt challenging. But hey, maybe I shouldn’t complain about a lack of obtusity in the point-and-click adventure genre?
Despite its simplicity, I quite enjoyed Lamplight City. The narrative offered more than enough little twists to keep me intrigued from start to end, whilst it also explores some interesting (and often dark) themes. There’s plenty of room for the player to express how they feel about these themes through the varied dialogue options, though you might find yourself pandering to certain folk just to keep them on-side. You might not always agree with it, but these are the things you have to do in order to solve cases…
Check out some screenshots down below:
The visuals are also great and ensure that the world is atmospheric and fun to explore, with the blend of Victorian-style buildings with steampunk stylings ensuring that there’s always something cool to see around you. It’s fully voiced too, so there’s a sense of cinematic presence that makes it easier to absorb yourself into each case. I played on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode and found that I could make out all of the details of world and text easily (though having a button highlight interactable objects does help), whilst the touch screen controls can make it more accessible to play on the go.
Lamplight City Review
Lamplight City is a cool point-and-click adventure that might not be too challenging, but offers plenty of freedom across its multiple cases to keep players fully invested in the sleuthing adventure. It is guilty of being a bit too simple at times (especially with the lack of an inventory) and the solutions to its puzzles are often a little too easy to figure out, but the intriguing story, slick presentation, and the flexibility of its cases ensure that the game never feels dull.
Developer: Grundislav Games
Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC