The Destined Detective
An empty town. A trail of clues. Your father… Missing? Dead? That mystery is yours to solve. Siberian developer Kiary Games’ Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery offers the player a chance to step into the detective’s shoes. This time, though, it’s a personal matter. To find out what happened to your father, you’ll have to get your hands dirty.
Following the Trail
You’ll start your story at the edge of town. A gate blocks the road ahead, and it’s up to you to figure out how to move it. This tutorial will give you the basics of how the game works, but two things will become abundantly clear here. For one, you’ll want to make sure that you look at every side of every room. Your perspective changes from corner to corner, so you can only ever see two adjacent walls at once. Then, you’ll also want to check everything in the room. Leave no folder, bookshelf or couch unturned. Clues, keys and passcodes turn up in all sorts of places, especially those you don’t expect.
After you’ve opened the gate, you’ll dive into the real story. This is one of the game’s most admirable qualities, as every part of the story is something the main character discovers. The game doesn’t bombard the player with a crowd of one-dimensional characters that feed them bits of information. Instead, Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery hides its narrative behind puzzles and locked doors. Every item you interact with has a story. Every plot point feels like an accomplishment, but often they leave the player wanting more. It’s this constant feeling of ‘congrats, but why?’ that makes Tiny Room Stories so engaging. That, and its simple interface. Tapping around the screen will pick up items and feed you clues. Swiping changes your perspective to the next corner of the room. Your clues are easily accessible at the top of the screen, and are discarded when no longer relevant. This way, you won’t have to sift through an entire journal of clues just to find the code for a lock.
An Unfortunate Cliffhanger
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery is broken into acts, which are then broken into chapters. Like other episodic games such as Life is Strange and certain Telltale series, you’ll have to pay to play the full story. On its own, the first act is entertaining and worth the few hours it takes to solve all the puzzles. From there, you can decide whether or not you want to spend $2.99 to unlock all of the chapters. For puzzle game extraordinaires, this will likely be a no-brainer. Tiny Room Stories boasts 15 unique chapters, six of which are included in the first act. Each chapter can take anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour to complete. This depends on how well you know your puzzles, and your ability to link clues. Regardless of your experience level, though, it’s hard to deny the value of the game.
As a whole, Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery is a stellar mystery game. It adopts a simplistic approach to gameplay, and a complex approach to mystery. Each chapter feels like a challenge, especially given a few notably frustrating puzzles. That being said, though, Tiny Room Stories is more fun than any puzzle game really has the right to be. Regardless of whether you’re a puzzle amateur or a master detective, this game is undoubtedly worth your time.
Is It Hardcore?
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery is a truly remarkable entry in the mobile puzzle genre.