Review: Jenny LeClue – Detectivú
Jenny LeClue Detectivú is an adventure game developed and published by Mografi. The basic plot of the game is: less-than-celebrated author, Arthur K. Finklestein has written over thirty books in the Jenny LeClue series; however, sales are plummeting and his publishers are demanding something different, they want Jenny to solve a murder. Arthur eventually caves and attempts to write a more dangerous adventure for his beloved Jenny. The gameplay follows Jenny investigating the mysteries of Arthurton, while also controlling the dangerous direction Arthur must take to keep his series alive.
When I was asked to review this game, I was excited by the premise from the get-go. As someone who has recently graduated from a Creative Writing degree, wants to be an author and is currently writing my own novel, I was intrigued to see how this game would portray Arthur’s writing struggles. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? The first thing I loved about this game was the art style. It was so unique and almost like paper-animation. The colour scheme was so eye catching and bright, which still somehow worked during the darker more serious scenes. The art style reminded me of that in ‘Night in the Woods,’ which made me think they were made by the same developers, but they were not.
The controls for the game were very simple and easy to remember, which as someone who doesn’t really play many games, I highly appreciated because it meant I could get straight into the game without having to constantly stop and check the controls because I forgot what they are (which I did many times when I played ‘The Last of Us’). The game itself switches back and forth between Arthur in his study in conflict with his publishers and himself about the plot of the current Jenny LeClue novel, and Jenny in Arthurton investigating the many mysteries that are occurring. During the Jenny scenes, Arthur is narrating what is happening and Jenny’s decisions, which you get to choose. Something I liked was the banter between Jenny and Arthur. While Arthur wants to get Jenny sweet, pure and simple, you can choose to have Jenny rebel against this and she will talk back to Arthur whenever he states ‘Jenny would never do such a thing!’ This made the gameplay that much more enjoyable.
Although Jenny LeClue is an adventure game, and most of the gameplay is spent exploring, you must also solve puzzles to progress further, which added that extra element to the game. The puzzles themselves are quite simple to solve but still enjoyable nonetheless. At no point did I have to google the answers to puzzles, but they also weren’t so easy that I got bored. As the game progresses the puzzles do get slightly more complex, such as the wire puzzles (which were the ones I “struggled” with the most,) which helps with the flow of the game as things get more mysterious and intense for Jenny.
The overall plot of the game starts off very slow, simplistic and predictable which I was worried would continue throughout the game and ultimately bore me, (games for me have to have a good storyline for me to enjoy them.) However, as the plot progresses the mystery increases and things become less predictable, which was great as it felt like you were discovering new information the same time as Jenny does, which a detective type game should do.
Still, like most games, I did have a few issues with Jenny LeClue Detectivú. Let’s talk about them. To start with I had a problem with some of the voice acting, in particular with Jenny’s mum. Whereas Jenny and Dean Strausberry’s voices added to their character and helped them bring them even more to life, Mrs LeClue’s was deadpan and lifeless, as if the voice actress was just reading from the script and not adding any ‘oomph’ to it. Upon further research I did discover that the voice acting was a pretty new aspect to the game as the original release in September 2019 didn’t have any voice acting. I personally couldn’t imagine this game not having the voice acting, so I will give the few poor voices a free pass.
I personally also had multiple glitches happen throughout the game which lead me to having to quit and restart to fix them. The majority of these glitches were Jenny moving behind scenery and getting stuck half way through floors/floorboards which meant I couldn’t move past a certain point or progress in the game. This problem may not be due to the game but my Switch, but since my Switch is relatively new, I doubt this. So do beware of these types of glitches, and I hope that this gets fixed in the future if this is a problem for multiple players.
This particular paragraph contains a few spoilers, so please skip past this part to avoid them! This is probably just some personal issues for me due to being a writer myself, but I wish to talk about them, because I can. As a writer you learn how to write an effective plot, that is not only enjoyable to the reader but also realistic in a sense. Since this is a game about a writer writing his latest book, I thought the plot would make 100% total sense. There were scenes though that irked me, and again this is me just being a picky writer so don’t judge me too harshly. Firstly, Jenny’s reaction when discovering Dean Strausberry’s dead body bothered me. Considering this was someone she knew, saw every day, worked closely with her mother AND was her best friend’s father, you would think she would have an emotional reaction to discovering his dead body, right? Wrong. Jenny jumps straight into inspecting his body and trying to solve the murder, which didn’t seem realistic to me, and surely Arthur would know to give her a better reaction that this? Jenny essentially goes, ‘oh no! Anyways…’ Another issue I had was later on in the game where Jenny is in the mines. Every now and again Suzie would randomly interrupt Jenny’s investigation or internal monologue by talking to her via the walkie talkie. This was fine the first few times it happened, however it kept continuing and becoming predictable and annoying. Some games can make this predictability work and it becomes funny, but in this context it did not and was not. It got to the point where I could pinpoint the exact moment Suzie would come through on the walkie talkie and it became annoying. Again, these were my personal opinions, you might think differently, which is fair enough.
Spoiler alert over! You may continue without any more spoilers.
The end of Jenny LeClue Detectivú I’m still conflicted about. You as the player get to choose between three different endings, that aren’t that different from each other to be honest. And to be quite frank with you, I’m not sure if I liked it. The ending is set up for a sequel game, which is fine, but I personally think this game would’ve worked better as a longer game. There is roughly ten hours of gameplay, so they could’ve made it twice as long as there are many games on the market which are twenty hours long (some even longer!) The game leaves you with so many unanswered questions and mysteries to solve, and the ending is so abrupt it didn’t seem like a real ending. I think the whole game should’ve been Arthur completing the book from beginning to end instead of splitting it up.
However, despite my grievances with the ending of the game, overall, I really enjoyed Jenny LeClue Detectivú! The art style, puzzles and overall storyline was enjoyable and it’s a game anyone can play no matter your ‘skill’ level. If you enjoy the Professor Layton series (like I do, so much) you would definitely enjoy Jenny LeClue, due to it being mostly propped up by the storyline and the puzzles add an extra element to it. I’m very glad I got to play this and am looking forward to the (hopeful) sequel.
8.5/10 stars (if I was to give it a star rating)
Review by Megan.