Detective Hank and the Golden Sneeze is an interactive whodunnit visual novel. The golden sneeze is missing and it is up to you to find out who took it. You play as detective Hank who must crack the case. What’s great about this visual novel is that every time you play the details of the robbery are different. There are 4 different story lines to choose from and 9 endings as well. The great thing about this visual novel is that your choices matter. You aren’t just reading through a story. Choosing the right line of questioning is key.
You start the game off by investing the museum where the crime took place. It doesn’t take long for your first 2 suspects to appear. The first being Mr. Abrams the curator of the museum and next is Saphira Capone. She is the daughter of a mob boss who became a restaurateur. Each one gives Hank cause for suspicion but at this point in the game you don’t have enough evidence to accuse anyone. Hank moves on to a nearby area to investigate and it isn’t too long before another suspect appears. Her name is Tomoe who appears to be a young girl that causes explosions. What really makes her the next suspect is that she claims the golden sneeze belongs to her. She says that she has been trying to get it back for a while.
Hank calls it a day after this and heads home to his wife Mary. Hank is surprised to see his in-laws have come by for a visit Peter and Paul. Through a conversation with them we learn they may have had a motive for stealing the golden sneeze as well. When interrogating any of the suspects Hank has to be subtle. The goal is to get as much information out of them as possible. Most of the game is spent gathering information about the case from the variety of suspects. The problem is sorting what is the right information and what is not. Like I said it is up to you to choose your path throughout the game. Even your choice to stay at a certain location or move to another can have an impact.
There are about 6 suspects in the case if you include Mary. Hank has a chance to talk with each suspect and compare them with the details of the case. Once you decide who to accuse there is no going back. You only get 2 chances to arrest the right person if not it is game over. Paying attention to what each suspect says is crucial. You can’t just skip dialogue and think you will pick the right person. Once you pick the right person you have to take them to court. Yes there is an actual court hearing in the game. In the court hearing scene you have to know your stuff. You have to select the right answers to prove that they did it. Then the case wraps up and you can play again if you choose.
This game has high replayability because you can get a different ending every time you play. Being able to make different choices throughout the game that you didn’t make before can make it interesting. The background music was nice and fit in with the tone of the game. It would have been better if the same song didn’t play throughout the entire game. There aren’t any game modes and the controls are simple. All you need is a mouse because it is just point-and-click. I wouldn’t say that Detective Hank and the Golden Sneeze requires a high degree of skill to complete. It just takes patience and some critical thinking.
The game is very user-friendly. It isn’t complicated to play and there isn’t any objectionable content in it. I really loved the hand drawn style of the graphics. The notebook style of the dialogue adds to the whole detective theme. The characters and the backgrounds have a subtle steam punk style as well. The lack of detail in the backgrounds give the game a cartoon like quality. Despite that it is a detective game it isn’t overly serious. Detective Hank and the Golden Sneeze has quite a bit of humor in it. The style of the graphics lets you know that this game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
My one complaint about this game would be that it is too short. I completed one run through of the game in one afternoon. Don’t get wrong I liked that it was shorter than most visual novels I have played. I just feel like it was too short. I think maybe adding some more locations would have made up for that. Despite that it is a delightful game. If you love to read, and want to play a game that won’t take up a lot of time this is it. I would actually like it if they came out with a series of Detective Hank games.
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