Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~

I wasn’t a fan of the original DS in the least. I felt that the second screen would rarely be utilized and only serve as lost potential and extra battery drain. Turns out I was only mostly right. One group of developers got it right on two different occasions. The first was Trace Memory and the second, Hotel Dusk: Room 215. Both of these games were a delight to play and really tried to capture the heart of what the DS was about. I remember a puzzle in Trace Memories where your character picked up a rubber stamp pad and you had to close the DS’s lid to press the stamp onto the inkpad. It was such a simple task, but baffled me until I understood that the DS was integral to the puzzle designs.

The director of those games have attempted to wow me again with Chase: Cold Case Investigations. While this game doesn’t do much in the way of taking advantage of the second screen outside of showing an extended image on both screen, I was looking forward to a new game from Taisuke Kanasaki. You take the role of an aloof detective named Shounosuke Nanase. He seems to lack motivation, and has an extreme disinterest in his job until his assistant, a detective in training, brings up an interesting case. It takes her some time to convince him that it’s a real case, but he eventually comes around, and shows her how to do some real investigating.

The game itself is handled a lot like the earlier Ace Attorney games from Capcom. You will study a crime scene and try to find clues about what happened as well as interview people who might have been involved. It’s not very hands on, but as visual novels go, it’s much more interactive than many. The real draw for me is the noir style and the amazing artwork of the characters. The dialog is solid, and I’m glad it’s not voice acted. The basics have you interrogating suspects. If you ask too many wrong questions, the game ends. This seems like an interesting way to do things, but I’m not entirely convinced you can get a game over unless you do it intentionally. It really seems like this is the introduction to something bigger.

If there’s any complaint I have for this title it’s that it’s way too short! The title of the game leads you to believe that there are more than one scenarios, but that isn’t the case. You can easily finish the game in a single sitting. It feels like an excellent starting point for a game or even an awesome first episode to an episodic game, but to my knowledge, this is all there is. The game released in Japan in May 2016, and still hasn’t gotten a second episode. It’s such a tease! At $5.99, it’s not a bad way to waste an hour or two, but if you’ve ever watched a TV series for a whole season only to learn that it got canceled, that’s what playing this game feels like except that instead of a whole season, the show got cancelled after the pilot episode.