Everyone Loves a Mystery
Here we go again with another crime-solving game! This is the seventh Criminal Case game by Pretty Simple. As the title suggests, the mysteries in this game all feature supernatural creatures like witches, vampires, and more as suspects. Supernatural Investigations holds many different styles of puzzles. There are the classic hidden-objects quests, some mixed up images, and logic-based puzzles. After you’ve completed all the puzzles necessary for a case, you then use your gathered information to accuse a suspect.
The steps are simple, but there is a lot to do in the game. Crime scene locations are where you solve hidden-object puzzles and other image-focused challenges to find clues and gain stars. Next, the clues go to the lab, where you can use stars to run tests. Running these tests puts you through other, smaller logic and speed puzzles. Once you have the information from the clues, suspects show up, and you use stars to talk to them. After you find all clues and meet all of the suspects, use the clues to deduct who the perpetrator is. There are five cases to work through after the initial tutorial chapter. Since there are several chapters for each case, the game can take a long time.
Investigating the Inner Workings
Supernatural Investigations has two in-game currencies required to do puzzles: coins and energy. Coins are readily won throughout the game and can be used to upgrade your avatar. Energy is used to explore crime scenes and get clues and stars. Stars are used to follow clues. Studying something in the lab or talking to a suspect, for example. Stars can only be earned through exploration of scenes, and energy is easier to earn or buy. Energy reloads in real-time, and you need 20 units of energy to do one puzzle.
Unfortunately, there are so many ads in-game. There are ads between puzzles and interactions, Criminal Case ads for items to purchase, and voluntary ads to earn more energy. It is understandable for a free game to have a few ads, but I felt overloaded with this game. Once you’ve completed the tutorial, prepare for increasing numbers of ads. What really gets me is that after most ads there is also a pop-up to upgrade to ad-free, costing $7.99. I feel that the game is strong enough without the ads or expensive upgrade. However, I do try to avoid games that overtly push in-app purchases at every turn.
A Crime to Play or a Crime to Ignore?
Aside from the ads, the app is aesthetically pleasing. The art and storyline are quirky, and there is some awesome music playing in the background. I found this game’s art style to be right on par with the detail of most hidden-object games. The art of the crime scenes feels very modern and really pops off the screen. Art in the lab scenes feel a bit less interesting, but that’s fair due to the cleanliness requirements of labs. Initially, you can create your character’s avatar from a small selection of skin, hair, and clothes. There are opportunities to upgrade your avatar with cooler outfits and hair, all costing coins. I do find it very strange that there are extra skin tones you can pay to purchase. I feel these should be readily available to all players, as it is not an aesthetic choice like clothing.
The game is intriguing and off-the-wall, seems to be without any glitches in the gameplay, and decently long. However, with all the ads and overpriced boosts, it seems to miss the mark. The ad to game ratio is high once you get through the tutorial, and the ad-free upgrade is expensive. Supernatural Investigations would have been better if it had cost money; there would’ve been fewer ads. The game certainly is fun, but it can be hard to just sit down and play without spending unnecessary money.
Is It Hardcore?
The game itself is entertaining, but it’s impossible to overlook the ads that beg you to pay for the overpriced ad-free version. Overall, it just feels like it could be a bit better.