Jenny LeClue – Detectivu opens up on a stormy night in Arthurton with a suspicious, or perhaps normal, individual with a briefcase. He boards a small motorboat and sails off past a murder of crows towards a small sign floating on the river. After a short minigame, you find a long tube stretch upward into your boat. You enter the tube and that’s the last thing you see… before being awoken from the short slumber of a far-too-tired author, Arthur K. Finkelstein.
Arthur is a well known author of the Jenny LeClue books. The books are not selling well and Arthur is being pressured to make them more dramatic and dangerous. After a particularly rage-inducing call, he decides to indeed give them the murder and mystery they’ve all been waiting for.
Your first mission in the game is to solve the ‘murder’ of Jenny LeClue… for your mother’s class. They believed it was an accident but you can prove them wrong. First, you’ll search the crime scene for clues using a first person POV in which you move the camera around and interact with what might be suspicious. A green smudge on her lips, a pool of blood at her head, muddy boots, and a floor that is immaculately clean yet still wet… she didn’t slip on the water, she was poisoned!
After collecting clues, you use them in combinations to deduce answers to questions. The first being “How did I know the victim didn’t slip”. Much of these moments of deduction are animated in simple little drawings in your notebook and serve well to show the story as well as tell it. I found myself enjoying them throughout the adventure and was occasionally wrong, which is always a plus. It’s never fun if it’s too easy!
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu follows a pretty specific pattern — Run around, investigate area, find clues, make deductions. It’s a tried and true method and nothing ever feels tiring. The majority of the game will be in a platformer-style but it’s only barely the majority. There are puzzles intermittent throughout the levels that can be anything from wire-puzzles to breaking boards or changing knobs on a dial to decipher a hidden message. There’s rarely a puzzle that doesn’t seem fun, but some of the puzzles and investigations have one problem — glitches. It wasn’t super often, but around 3-4 times, I would get stuck. It wasn’t me, though. I’d spend a good 30 minutes trying to figure out if I’m missing something but in fact it was the game. Occasionally the “back” arrow simply wouldn’t load or a puzzle wouldn’t progress properly. No amount of changing, flipping, or sword-moving would fix it. It became a hassle having to redo up to 15 minutes of content but that’s really my biggest gripe and it’s not so annoying that I found myself hating the game.
Over the course of your investigation, which I feel was well planned, entertaining, and of decent length (around 10 hours), you’ll be living two stories. There’s the obvious “Jenny LeClue” mystery that befalls Arthurton. You’ll mostly work on the mystery but also there’ll be plenty of choices to make Jenny the detective you want. She can be an emotional planner or a logical dreamer. I won’t give out any spoilers but it’s definitely got the basis of a good story but an ending that leaves you saying “…why?”. Personally, I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers and this game gives you a big one as literally the last scene.
The second story you’ll be playing is as Arthur… or more like an unseen force in Arthur’s apartment. Much of the game is played in the first story but Arthur, the author, is just as important. The story hurts Arthur to write just as much as your character, Jenny. He struggles with what he wants and with compromising his beliefs, which is shown in Jenny’s own emotional struggles to not only the murder but the troubles in her now-broken family.
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu also has a few extra features that are mostly just for flavor. There are hidden stickers and scraps of postcard throughout all the levels. They’re all easy enough to find for the most part but they’re all also miss-able and the perfectionist in me died a little when I realized I missed two scraps of the very last postcard. The stickers are used on your notebook just to customize it. Personally, I put the mayor’s face with a big red X on it… because he died. Twisted? Yes. Perfect? Also yes.
You’ll rarely find your device overheating or draining too much battery. The bigger issue to me is that the game only autosaves and so if you close the app entirely, you might end up set back farther than you’d like. Pay attention to the top left of the screen though and if the “Jenny LeClue” logo pops up, you should be fine to exit. They seemed to be coming every time you enter or leave an area or find something big so there was never a huge lull between saves.
In the end, Jenny LeClue – Detectivu succeeds in telling you an engaging story with good mechanics, fun puzzles, a great way of introducing mystery, and characters that you’ll really find yourself enjoying. If you take away the glitches, this is definitely a top-notch game that I think any lover of mystery, murder, or puzzles will enjoy.
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NOTE: Jenny LeClue – Detectivu is available exclusively as part of Apple Arcade, a premium gaming subscription service from Apple. Without being a subscriber to Apple Arcade you cannot download and play this game. Apple Arcade is $4.99 per month and does come with a free one month trial, you can learn more about it on Apple’s official website or by visiting our dedicated Apple Arcade forum.