Gorgeous, well-written and smart, Jenny LeClue is a game for aspiring detectives young and old.
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu plays almost like those teen detective novels you used to read when you were young (at least I did). It stars a caffeinate-addicted, cynical version of Nancy Drew who’s out to solve the case of a lifetime.
But it’s not a game for kids; well, not just for kids. Sure, it’s not very challenging, but it tells a captivating story full of intrigue, conspiracy, and a few dead bodies. Sleuths everywhere will enjoy this lighthearted homage to the noir adventure.
A Classic Detective Story With a Twist
Jenny LeClue meshes elements of noir, sci-fi, drama, and even horror into one thrilling mystery. A mystery you solve my making clever dedications and plenty of choices.
Making choices is an integral part of the game, and the main way the story progresses. The game keeps tracks of your choices, and they supposedly change some moments and conversations with a few key characters. But after my first playthrough, I couldn’t really see how my decisions affected my journey. Do they open slightly different dialogues and sometimes even whole new scenes, but they don’t seem to have an impact on the story.
It is perfectly fine, as the story is well-written and so fun to go through. The best part is how it speaks to players of all ages and experience. I can easily see parents, kids, casual gamers, and hardcore adventurers having a great time while solving the many cases Jenny comes across. The game is very approachable, is what I’m trying to say.
The downside is that Jenny LeClue – Detectivu isn’t very challenging. Most of the “puzzles” can be solved with a few clicks, and the more complex ones only require a few more seconds of thinking. Still, it’s a charming, tense, and funny game even without a significant challenge.
Speaking of puzzles, I do think some of them tend to repeat just a little too often. Since they are not very challenging, getting through them more than a couple of times is more of an inconvenience than anything else. The game can get pretty slow at times and has a rather lengthy campaign, so these repeating puzzles feel like unnecessary filler.
However, anything that has to do with solving a case is pure fun if you’re into detective games. Searching a crime scene for clues and combining them to reach a conclusion requires you to use your head and do some deductive reasoning to get the solution right. And it’s rewarding if you do.
Surprisingly, there are many different cases Jenny has to solve during her adventure. It can be something as small as a pair of missing glasses, to earth-shattering events like the murder of a beloved public figure. What’s even more surprising is how satisfying it is to solve each of these cases, even the little ones. They may be inconsequential, but they help establish Jenny’s character and key game mechanics while making you feel like the world’s greatest detective.
Full of Character
Jenny LeClue may be a little girl, but she acts like a veteran film-noir detective. She’s cynical, grumpy, and can’t function without a stiff drink (coffee, in this case). Imagine a young Jessica Jones minus the superpowers and alcoholism, and that’s Jenny in a nutshell. Or at least, that’s what she’s like on the surface.
The game does a fantastic job giving its main character layers and reminds us that beneath her tough exterior, Jenny is still a child. Her character works really well in the context of the plot, and while she can be slightly unlikeable at times, she’s perfect for the story the game is telling.
Jenny LeClue’s supporting cast is also fun, diverse, and exciting to meet. The nervous narrator, Jenny’s strong-willed mother, the friendly dean, and the town’s kook bring the hamlet of Artherton to life. The rest of the cast isn’t as developed as Jenny herself (she’s the star of the show after all), but they are still very memorable. My favorite is Suzie, the peppy cheerleader with a dark secret.
The only thing I was disappointed to discover was that none of them is voiced. I know this is an indie game made by mostly two people, but there is so much dialogue to read through, it can get exhausting. However, the developers manage to stylize the voiceless conversations in such a way they never lose their impact. Lines of text change size, spacing, and are sometimes even animated to convey emotion, and it’s effective as heck.
The visuals as a whole are absolutely stunning. Jenny LeClue may be an homage to the noir genre, but a lively, bright and colorful one.
The scenery especially stands out. Artherton, Jenny’s quaint hometown, is a picturesque place. The green campus lawns, the bright red of autumn leaves by the lake, the deep blues of the Forgotten Forest at night – every place you visit is unique and breathtakingly beautiful. Even the interiors look wonderful and full of character. It’s a tad shame that a big chunk of the game takes place underground, where most of the environments are less appealing.
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu is gorgeous, well-written and clever. It doesn’t matter if you played a hundred adventure games, causally dabble in pointing and clicking, or never held a controller in your life. Jenny LeClue is a game everyone who loves a good story, beautiful visuals, and hair-raising conspiracies would enjoy.
Release Date: Sep. 19, 2019
Our Jenny LeClue review copy was supplied by the developer.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.