If you’re a fan of the dark cosmic horror work of H.P. Lovecraft? Then check out The Last Case of Benedict Fox, created by the team at Plot Twist and published by Rogue Games, Inc. This new atmospheric hack-and-slash Metroidvania game was released on the Steam Store on April 27th for £20.99.
There is more to death than we know.
Let me know your thoughts on this review and game in the comments. If you enjoyed this review, then check out my review for Hunt The Night.
The players control Benedict Fox, a detective trying to uncover the mysteries of a grisly murder and the disappearance of a child. You are not alone, as a dark entity helps Fox by gifting him various powers to assist with the investigation, such as diving into the memories of the deceased and uncovering what had already transpired. The Last Case of Benedict Fox does deal with dark themes, for example, Suicide, occultism and abuse, so please be warned.
The mansion serves as the home base for Fox and any NPC who join later on. Upon looking around, players will find a radio they can tune to find various music broadcasts or a piano to enjoy at their own leisure after discovering the deceased body of their father. Fox can dive into his memories and fully begin his investigation to uncover how he died. Like most Metroidvania-styled games, there is no waypoint for the player to head to instead. They can explore areas to find items that will help them get past obstacles located throughout the world. Portals known as Anchors are found in the limbo world and allow players to fast-travel from area to area (luckily, they do not have to be at one to do this). Anchors also refill health and any consumable items used.
The twisted world and what it holds
Players will have to jump, run and fight their way through the twisted limbo of the recently departed. While exploring, you can find items that will give more information on the history and lore of the game. For example, Fox can find a record that holds the memories of the dead. Other items will become of use as the game progresses, such as the compass-looking device, primarily used to solve runic puzzles. Puzzles will require a bit of thinking as the game doesn’t always explain them properly. The best example for this was a runic door that had me do three puzzles, but the last part of it was upside down.
Players will come across different demonic enemies (they have individual names in a bestiary). Some are like dogs and will lunge at the player, while others are just flying eyeballs. There are bosses in the game, but they seem to be very far apart. I’ve played for nine hours and have only encountered one. It is a bit of a let down as the boss fight was quite fun. The combat isn’t that hard but can be clunky at times. Fox can use his trusty bayonet knife to strike Demons with either light or heavy attacks. He can also block, dodge, and parry attacks. A flare gun is also in Fox’s arsenal, allowing him to attack at a distance and kills small enemies in one shot. Ammo is replenished by attacking enemies and will refill a small amount on each hit. (in all fairness, the bar fills up quite fast).
Upgrading Detective Fox and his dark companion
Various NPC will arrive at the mansion and provides Fox with different services. One of the first characters to arrive is a gentleman named Harry, who acts as a small shop for players to buy new equipment, such as smoke bombs. After making a purchase, players will then be able to upgrade it at their stall. There are two main currencies in the game. One is called Ink and is obtained by slaying Demons in Limbo. (However, players can not farm Ink from previously defeated Demons as they become a weaker variant). The other is gold which is only gained by finding items in Limbo and is used primarily for shops and upgrades.
One of the other characters players will frequently visit and use the Ink for is a mysterious woman, only known as The Tattooist. She will help Fox by giving him tattoos that boost the dark entity’s powers and unlocks various new ones. These powers help by letting players perform multiple jumps in a row or by letting Fox smash down on enemies from above. Some items found throughout Limbo can be given to the weapon smith with a small fee to upgrade the knife and flare gun uses. For example, more ammo and better damage as the flare gun only fires once at the start but gains additional shots after being upgraded.
It’s easy to get lost and confused
If the player gets lost on where to go, they can simply open the map and find the small question mark icons. These areas have yet to be explored and will likely have a door that needs solving to progress. Puzzles get challenging, but after you’ve finished a couple, it comes as second nature. Notes found will help with some puzzles and get stored inside a journal that Fox keeps on his person. When looking at a puzzle, the Fox can pull out his journal to look at the information he has, which is great and saves the hassle of going through various menus. I wish that you could zoom in on the journal as I am half blind in my left eye and struggled to read the small text.
Graphics & Audio
To say The Last Case Of Benedict Fox is a visual treat is an understatement. The colours are vibrant and highlight the gloomier scenes. The shininess, such as rain on the floors and the sheen of the kitchen counter top looks brilliant. The lighting is incredible, such as how the sunlight streams through the windows. Also, I love Benedict’s red hair and how it contrasts and stands out from some of the greyer environments. The twisted, fleshy and strange areas look superb.
A great detail in the game is when Benedict tries to fire his Flare Gun, a particle effect is seen. The detailing on items found throughout is also intricate and shows that the developers really put a lot of care into the design of this game. Another amazing detail I liked was that the loading screen adds all the collectables you’ve found so far, displaying them as detective’s notes
I have played The Last Case of Benedict Fox for over ten hours, and I still have a lot of mystery to uncover. Completionists can find joy in trying to get all the areas to 100% and upgrading all their equipment, and there does seem to be a large amount of lore hidden around for those who like checking out every little detail.
I really enjoyed playing through The Last Case of Benedict Fox. I fell in love with the overall visuals and world design. The story has kept me interested but does seem to fail when it comes to pacing. I feel as if I still haven’t discovered anything even though I have sunk just over ten hours in. As mentioned above, I enjoyed the boss fights but have only fought one. It’s a shame as the game shines in its design, and you sadly end up fighting the same types of mobs repeatedly.
Controls can be smooth, but the jump button doesn’t respond sometimes, and I find myself dying to silly things. The powers the entity uses for combat could do with some work, as it feels useless. Overall with just some minor tweaks here and there. The game could become even better. It is still definitely worth checking out now.
I give The Last Case of Benedict Fox the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.