Reviews

The Last Case of Benedict Fox review – Behold: Demonic Sherlock Holmes!

I’ve been a fan of the detective genre of storytelling for a while. From the cheesy to the dramatic, detective stories have a charm that other genres don’t always have in them. The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a detective, puzzle based platformer with twists and turns and so much lore that you will definitely need a notepad to help with keeping it all together. Let’s explore The Last Case of Benedict Fox.

I’m going to start by calling myself out. I am not great at side scrolling platformers; Mario, Metroid, and the Ori series, just to name a few of the games I’ve played and not been overly great at. That’s why a good story is key for me to enjoy this genre. The Last Case of Benedict Fox has a story that kept me going even if I was frustrated or dying a lot. I don’t want to spoil the main plot, so this is the synopsis used by the publisher, Rogue Games about The Last Case of Benedict Fox:

“Take on the last case of Benedict Fox and dive into a twisted world of secret organizations, forbidden rituals, and cold-blooded murders. Explore the memories of deceased victims as you search for clues and fight demons in this fantastical Lovecraftian Metroidvania.”

There is so much to this game lore-wise that you could write an entire essay on it, but the fun of this game is finding the twists, turns, re-twists, and shocking moments. So, with that, let’s move on to the gameplay itself.

The Last Case of Benedict Fox caught my attention due to the usage of Limbo. There are basically two areas you’ll be playing in: the mansion and Limbo. The mansion is where you’ll find the bodies of those murdered, the ability to upgrade Benedict’s abilities, and some companions who join you along the way. Limbo, on the other hand, is full of danger, secrets, and puzzles for you to complete. Limbo is anxiety-filled from the moment you step into it. Evil monsters of all sorts lurk in the shadows to jump out and kill you, and if you die in Limbo, you have to restart from the last portal.

The great part of all the anxiety is how relieved you feel when you solve a puzzle or figure out an area. This is the case for me with many of the Metroidvania-type games. I’m frustrated, I’m frustrated, then BOOM, I feel like a champion. This happens a lot in The Last Case of Benedict Fox. My favorite boss has to be the big ice monster who chases you. Your goal is basically to jump, block, move on platforms of all sorts while a giant ice beast is chasing you from behind. It’s terrifying, but it feels so good when you figure the pattern out.

Now, how do you jump, block, etc? Well, remember the Marvel character Venom? It’s that kind of vibe with the one the game calls, the COMPANION. This entity has seemingly been with Benedict for his entire lifetime. They have a very Venom / Eddie Brock brotherhood type of relationship. While the COMPANION wants to be a demonic entity, he does seem to want Benedict to survive as his host. He helps with clues, sure, but the biggest plus of having this demon on Benedict’s shoulder are the abilities he provides. These powers include barrier, shield, dive, grasp, heave, slam, reach, tackle, and ambush, all generally done with the tentacle’s of your demonic COMPANION. These abilities come from beating bosses, upgrading your tattoos, and more. Always be on the lookout for ways to expand your arsenal.

Now, while I’m not the best at Metroidvania style games overall, I did find myself having less trouble with the platforming and more with remembering what I needed to be doing. This game doesn’t railroad you often, leaving the space free for you to explore. What that did was make my ADD go WILD. I would see something interesting and just walk away and end up down a rabbit hole for 45 minutes, completely forgetting what I was supposed to do next. This led me to literally grab a notebook and write things down so I didn’t have to keep searching for what I needed in the menu. This came in handy with the puzzles, and when I say some of these puzzles take a while to figure out, I’m not joking. With the lack of direction, the puzzle difficulty, and my own ADD, I HAD to write things down. Otherwise, I sat there banging my head against my controller longer than I’d like to admit.

To counter this, the developers put in place a way to get the puzzles to complete automatically if you have the abilities needed. While I tried to do all the puzzles myself, some of them just got on my nerves and I turned on the auto-complete for it. I didn’t feel too bad given that I generally spend 15-20 minutes on a puzzle before resorting to this. However, having this ability did add to the accessibility of the game as a whole for those more interested in the lore and platforming than the unique puzzles that range from finding the correct runes to gross finger doors. Overall, it balanced out for me where those who love puzzles get cool puzzles, while those who don’t still have a way to play.

The aesthetics are really where this game hit it big for me. The music was fun, having records you can find throughout the mansion, a piano puzzle to unlock a secret, plenty of creepy characters that may or may not be on your side, and much much more. One of the characters I really loved was the Inquisitor. He’s one with many sides: is he your friend, your enemy, or does he really not matter? It’s all part of the mystery and the overall lore of The Last Case of Benedict Fox.

When looking for games to play, The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a solid game that takes as long as you want to play it. We had a bug that added some time to my playthrough (that was quickly fixed by the developer with a patch for XBOX) but overall, while it’s not a LONG game, it’s a FULL game. There are secrets to discover, lore to figure out, twists and turns to be shocked by, and lots and lots of platforming and puzzles to wrack your brain over.

85

Great

The Last Case of Benedict Fox

Review Guidelines

The premise is exciting! You’re Benedict Fox, and demonic friend, taking on a case about a murder, a secret society, and more. This game is not for the faint of heart when it comes to puzzles and problem solving. You can get frustrated easily if you don’t breathe, but it's a challenging kind of frustration and fun. If you love puzzle games and platformers, this will be a must play. And if you love lore, it has that in droves. While it has moments of feeling directionless, don’t worry. Just walk around and you’re bound to find something you haven’t seen before.

Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.

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