I've always fashioned myself as something of a sailor. Not because I'd be especially good at naval combat, but rather because I have a thing for wearing crisp whites and don't mind bunking down with a boat load of seaman.

Just like my rather fanciful dream of riding the high seas, NCIS isn't the most realistic portrayal of its chosen profession – or, indeed, the TV show it's based on – but it's certainly more attainable.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Your job is to solve a series of crimes within the US Navy, taking on the roles of each and every member of the NCIS team as you make your way through each maritime mystery.

The game's particular brand of investigation is especially formulaic, however, with each case boiling down to three main actions: interviewing suspects and witnesses, investigating the crime scene to hunt for clues, and analysing forensics.

Indeed, piecing together all three elements solves the case automatically, the game's reams of texts filling in the blanks for you as you go with any genuine detective work especially thin on the ground.

As a result, cases focus on when you'll solve them, rather than if. The challenge rests on just how quickly you react to its prompts.

Searching crime scenes for clues, for instance, simply means moving a magnifying glass over a static picture, hitting the '5' key whenever you spot something you think might be relevant.

The quicker you find the evidence you need, the better your rating at the end of the case.

Cracking the case

Interviews are trickier, however, with NCIS charging you with determining the manner in which questions are delivered, rather than picking the questions themselves.

Every line of dialogue is split into three categories – friendly, neutral, and aggressive – with the idea being to break the interviewee by mixing up your approach as you go along.

For instance, a friendly opener is often a good ice breaker, while a more aggressive tone is usually the best way to seal the deal later on.

Even if you do pick the wrong strategy, NCIS is forgiving, resetting the conversation to the last correct response and giving you another chance.

Other than that, play takes the form of a basic puzzler. Analysing hair strands for DNA or fingerprints is a case of matching patterns rather than any deep detective work.

It's indicative of NCIS's casual approach as a whole that the developer appears intent on delivering the spirit of the show rather than taking it to any new levels.

As such, while there are no great surprises along the way, there are no big pitfalls either. It doesn't take much investigation to spot that NCIS is worth a quick punt if you're a fan of the show, but it'll seem a touch shallow if you're not.


Taking the easy does it approach, NCIS makes investigating naval crimes an especially straightforward – if a touch banal at times – process