Game Reviews

Ink Spotters review - A frustrating detective mystery

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Ink Spotters review - A frustrating detective mystery

2015's Her Story took a fascinating approach on the detective mystery, challenging you to unfold its secrets through your own deductions and searching for clues with keywords. Ink Spotters feels like a compelling twist on that formula, trading computer and filmed interrogation for interactive comic and Sherlock Holmes mystery.


Ink Spotters' illustrated mysteries unfold a panel at a time, each panel containing clues for you to deduce. These clues can be derived from dialogus, visual details, or elements in the background like a name on a sign. Typing in the keyword clue takes you to a related panel, slowly revealing the story and context until the comic is complete.

While this rewards observation, it also makes the game a matter of trial and error, not looking for a clue but the clue, the necessary one hidden on the panel. Progressing through Ink Spotters can feel like playing detective and more like playing a hidden item game, as you search for the right means to continue the story.

Unsuccessful methods

Those stories are varied, well-illustrated, and tell their mysteries in concise fashion, but the nature of the game means you move through the tales in scattershot fashion, jumping between contextless panels.

A detective game is often defined by the player gathering clues to come to a conclusion, but Ink Spotters' approach means there's no structure to which and when clues are found. You might jump to the last panel of the story, the one revealing the outcome of the mystery, then use the clues to fill in the in-between blanks panels.

It's a jarring way to experience the mysteries, and further reduces the intended goal of feeling like a detective to random luck.

Ink Spotters is certainly ambitious, but its frustrating execution squanders the potential inherent in its interesting take on the genre.

Ink Spotters review - A frustrating detective mystery

Ink Spotters' unique approach to the detective game suffers from severe flaws in execution
Christian Valentin
Christian Valentin
Christian always had a interest in indie games and loves to give the games that so easily go unnoticed the attention they deserve