The Innsmouth Case (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 05.04.2021

Review for The Innsmouth Case on Nintendo Switch

As a fan of Lovecraft's mythos, this critic is sad at the fact that Cthulhu (and Friends) has become a bit of a joke; one more creature of popular culture, whose main purpose is to produce memes and the like, rather than fill your soul with dread, and make you feel hopeless - and yet, indie developer RobotPumpkin Games has managed to please this cosmic horror fan's black heart with a game that blends the eldritch terror of the town of Innsmouth with comedy, in text adventure The Innsmouth Case. Here's a look at the Nintendo Switch version.

This begins in a very… Lovecraft kind of manner, as the protagonist is a private investigator who is currently struggling with his growing pile of unpaid bills, as well as his growing love for the bottle. This wreck of a man soon gets a visit from the typical dame of noir films, who asks him to find her missing daughter, with all info leading to the coastal town of Innsmouth. This is a place where great horrors are hiding in the waters; a place of bizarre cults and religious fanatics; a place where one of the 'Great Old Ones' sleeps. What separates The Innsmouth Case from other tales of cosmic horror, however, is that this one is R'lyeh funny (no regrets for the pun). Wait a tick, though. Lovecraftian horror and comedy? Yes, jokes and eldritch scares are quite the unlikely pair, yet this manages to pull that off pretty well.

Screenshot for The Innsmouth Case on Nintendo Switch

Inevitably, of course, the scale leans more towards the funny side, so don't expect this to creep you out much. This retains the typical dread and hopelessness associated with Lovecraft's body of work, with most roads of this choose-your-own-adventure leading to defeat, but if here for the frights, you won't get 'em. If in need for some laughs, this has a plenty. Sure, good humour is in the eye of the beholder, thus it's kind of hard to explain why this is funny. The good news is that, unlike how most comedy titles nowadays lean towards the "hurr-hurr," meta, ironic, "look how funny we are" writing, this is anything like that, which is a blessing. The approach here is simple, as all good things are - and silly. Oh boy, how silly it is!

For the most part, this is just a light-hearted take on The Shadow Over Innsmouth - like it's teen-friendly rewrite or something, with the choices offered in the many crossroads following a similarly "traditional" structure. You'll be asked whether you want to go to Innsmouth via bus or hitchhiking; you'll have to decide between running away from a mob of cultists and hiding in the shadows; you'll try to negotiate with captors, explore around, and find the best solution to the many problems that will be thrown at your feet. While all that happens, the funny side of this game will slowly and subtly creep in, like a set of extra-dimensional tentacles. Get it? Tentacles? Because it's about Lovecr… oh, forget it.

Screenshot for The Innsmouth Case on Nintendo Switch

The tongue in cheek brand of humour of The Innsmouth Case is hilarious in the way The Naked Gun is. For the most part this takes things seriously. Your P.I. is an actual P.I. - and then he chooses to take a seductive pose while hitchhiking, engage in some sexy sex with a 100-year-old lady just to hide from the aforementioned mob, or flirt with another 100-year-old lady just to gather some info (yeah, there's seems to be a motif here). The mob has him, and is ready to burn him at the stake? Tourists appear and start taking selfies, not lifting a finger to help, while he screams "no one cares about your stories!" The priest says "Brothers and Sisters!" in a typical, dramatic way? The pack of morons around respond with "yes Abraham?" It might sound like nothing special, but the execution is top-notch.

Screenshot for The Innsmouth Case on Nintendo Switch

As a text adventure this has great pacing, with the story divided between very short segments that don't drag on and on, making it a great pick-and-play title. This helps subsequent revisits to stay enjoyable, as you try different routes again and again in order to get one of the 20+ endings/game overs. There are plenty of choices to make here, too, and while not all of them alter the path players will take, one should always keep in mind that the fun here isn't really on reaching a desired finale, but on experiencing the story, and, of course, enjoying the comedic aspect of it all. It's a bit of a shame that there isn't a text log available, but this doesn't exactly ruin the fun, even if you accidentally skip a line or two.

Visually it's somewhat disappointing in how everything takes something like 20% of the screen, with the rest being the page of a book where the text is, and with some of the view covered by the actual desk where the book is on. At least said view is pretty, and the small "window" where locations and characters can be seen manages to immerse you into the game world. The atmosphere is pretty good too, despite this being more concerned with being funny rather than dark. Having said that, this is definitely at its best when the night falls, or when it's more "subtle," making you feel that something is wrong here, rather than straight up having you talk with a man who has tentacles for a beard.

Screenshot for The Innsmouth Case on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Combining horror narratives with comedy isn't exactly the easiest of tasks, yet The Innsmouth Case manages to successfully mix the extremely terrifying world of Lovecraft, with a pleasantly silly sense of humour. For a game that all you do is read, this has some great pacing, and a very high replay value, with plenty of different endings to discover. Sure, this is by no means a frightening tale, but its purpose isn't to offer eldritch terror. This is a new thing. It's eldritch comedy at its best.

Developer

RobotPumpkin Games

Publisher

Assemble Entertainment

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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