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Near Illegal Detective Review

A photo of the pin board the player gets when solving a crime or taking a side job. Taken from the Colepowerd games Shadows of Doubt page.

Shadows of Doubt is a first-person noir-style detective game with a cyberpunk atmosphere and a killer on the loose!

The objective of Shadows Of Doubt is to solve murder cases. But these are not one-off events. These are from serial killers. for one reason or another, they snapped and if someone plans to stop their rampage then it’s time they pick up the fingerprint scanner, get a pocket full of lockpicks, and slap on the attitude of a grizzled civilian homicide detective to get on the case.

The game itself is all procedurally generated. From the names of streets to the moles on a random office worker’s face. Each play of the game will not be like any other. Even the main character can be randomized or renamed. For example my first character,“Sally the Sledgehammer” had only one personality trait, that is busting down doors and giving dental care on the cheap with their fists, while having the body so big it makes the hulk look small. 

A photo of a small chinatown district near the long python restaurant. Taken from the Colepowerd games Shadows of Doubt page.

Even though the murder cases are the primary objective, there are side missions that expand the world and are sometimes more ridiculous than the murder case itself; going from something as simple as arresting someone, to corporate espionage, to even public humiliation. 

In the setting of the game, everything feels damp and depressing as if the city was caked in grime and nihilism.  But even if this atmosphere is depressing it’s hard to say there is no fun to be had. Each door can be opened or broken into and if the cameras are getting in the way of illegal activities. Simply shut them off at a power box or (like Sally would do) break them off their hinges. Instead of solving any crimes become the local crackhead and go to crime scenes just to scrounge for loot and steal milk from the fridge. 

The game is primarily based on stealth.You have to try to give the idea that the character is not a police officer, but a civilian detective. However, that does not stop the detective from running into office buildings with a baseball bat to find employee records and smack anyone in their way. The world feels alive as it’s working around the player. Even though the player might be in random apartment complex finding incriminating emails and crack pipes, some npc in the next room is cleaning a end table with an entire 5 gallon bucket of water.

One of their older projects “Concrete Jungle” shares the same charm that Shadows of Doubt has even though it’s a completely different game. This is a very small team consisting of only one developer and one virtual assistant. Shadows of Doubt can be found for 19.99$ on Steam. 

It is still a work in progress but it is having regular updates from the developer and will be getting a community modding page on december 15th. But as of yet this is the only game that has satiated my itch to become a noir style detective and solve murder cases.


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