If You Love Detective Novels, Strong Female Heroes and Great Storytelling, Check Out This Game

When I saw the female-led detective game A Case of Distrust in the indie section at E3, I knew I had to play it, and I was really pleasantly surprised with what I found.

The visual novel game stars a female detective named P.C. Malone who lives and works in San Francisco in 1927. She wants to make a name for herself and do right by the world, but it's tough for a woman in such a male-dominated society. Inspired by her uncle, she feels detective work is her calling, even if she's not making enough money to keep food on the table.

The story and gameplay unfold through a series of lightly animated character screens and landscapes accompanied by text. Much of what you'll be reading as a player consists of Malone's inner monologue, unfolding organically as she considers the specifics of her work as well as her place in the world and the conundrums she faces in life. The art style and the manner in which this text unfolds like it's coming out of a typewriter is totally evocative of the era.

A Case of Distrust: P.C. Malone

(via The Wandering Ben)

As this text is displayed, you'll also have to interact with the text you see. Sometimes, you'll see that there's more to the story you're reading, and you can click bits of the text to dive deep into the narrative, or skip over it and ignore it completely. Other times, you'll have to choose between two narrative options, and your choices will impact the story further down the line.

In certain sections, you'll also move your mouse around, looking for anything that stands out to find evidence you can use in your detective work.

A Case of Distrust: Investigating for Clues

(via The Wandering Ben)

You'll need this evidence because it can be used to contradict your suspects. In the segment I played, a cat wandered into my apartment and would not leave until I proved I didn't have anything to feed it. After searching the empty icebox, I was able to show the cat I had no food and it wandered away.

A Case of Distrust: Contradicting suspect during interrogation

(via The Wandering Ben)

I didn't get to see a ton of the game, but the bits I played were well-written and made me eager to know what else would happen as the rest of the story unravels. The game as also set in an interesting time, just seven years after women got the right to vote in the U.S., making C.P.'s fight for recognition feel even more relevant.

I particularly like the way the game displays its text in big, easy-to-read chunks. I'm a big fan of games like the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, but the way its text comes in a line or two at a time can make wordier sections feel tedious—and actually prompt me to accidentally skip through important bits. If those games would adapt a style more similar to A Case of Distrust, they would become so much more playable.

It's scheduled to release before the end of the year on both PC and Mac. I'd keep an eye out for it when it does.


If you'll all about female heroes in games, click HERE to find out why we're so excited about the return of Metroid games.