You’ve solved a fair few crimes over the course of your gaming career, playing as Sherlock Holmes, Phoenix Wright and Judgment’s Takayuki Yagami. But have you unravelled crimes from 1400 years ago? Or have you done it as a real-life detective? The answers are likely no, which is why Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders are different from your average detective sim.
Taking place in China during the Tang Dynasty, Detective Di was a real magistrate named Di Renjie, or ‘Judge Dee’ to his friends, who was the subject of an extremely popular crime novel called Di Gong An. Nupixo, a Montreal studio, have taken it upon themselves to translate it to the Xbox and Switch, and the result is a graphic novel that feels transported from the ‘90s, as it looks like one of the classic Sierra Online graphic novels from that period.
There are four cases here, but they are all connected by the Silk Rose of the title. A fake flower is left on the bodies of several female corpses, leading Magistrate Di Renjie to believe they are connected, and that a serial killer is in his midst. The case takes him into the court of the Empress, and into the slums of the city. There is a fantastic political backdrop to Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, and the pressure of it often compromises your case.
This is a simple graphic novel, with only a few controls and a small inventory to manage. The emphasis is more on weedling confessions from people and finding the smallest of clues in the pixel environments. Don’t let the simplicity of the controls and graphis fool you: there are some intricate puzzles that will need you on your A game.
Key game features include:
• Captivating storyline
• Background and atmosphere of ancient China culture and history
• Challengings riddles to solve and dialogue options to choose
• Expressive and unique pixel art, 2D graphic
• Original soundtrack with 13 tracks
We had the pleasure of playing Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, and can confirm that it’s well worth brushing your notebook off for. We gave it a 4.5/5, saying “We can’t be the only ones who have a hankering for an old-school graphic adventure, one that takes the genre as seriously as Sierra Online did thirty years ago. Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders does that and more, delivering one of the most sensual and adult examples of recent years”.
Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £10.74 from the Xbox Store. It’s also out on Nintendo Switch.
Someone systematically kills young women in the Chinese capital under the Tang Dynasty, leaving cards with riddles and warnings at the crime scene. After a daringly solved case, the young, newly minted, but extremely talented detective Di Renjije receives, from the Empress Wu Zetian herself, the task of discovering the identity of the murderer.