Version Reviewed: 1.2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Taking its cue from various sources, The Trace isn’t the greatest murder mystery based adventure game but it’s still a pretty fun experience. You play detective as you attempt to figure out who committed a murder and why, by piecing together various clues to come to a sound conclusion.
Its closest comparison comes from titles such as the Sherlock Holmes series of games on PC and consoles. You explore various scenes, much like in a Hidden Object game, picking up clues then figuring out how they combine to solve a pertinent issue. Alongside that are various simple puzzles, such as repairing a pair of glasses through a fairly easy jigsaw puzzle. Taking a cue from The Room, you can rotate items and interact with them in a tactile manner, such as by pulling down on a door handle to open it.
At first, you’ll forget this and stick with typical iOS controls, wondering why swipes and taps aren’t so effective, but it’ actually a pretty good system. You end up flicking screwdrivers to undo grates, before pushing things out of the way. Your mindset soon adjusts accordingly.
Further familiar inspiration comes from the CSI games with you scanning evidence to decipher it or uncover new clues, such as fingerprints or DNA. Invariably, every item has an extra clue to uncover through such a method. You then complete a scene by piecing together the clues to answer various important questions about what’s unfolded.
Such familiar elements come together to make a pretty enjoyable experience, even if it does mean that The Trace is rarely challenging. It’s more a title to enjoy the experience of than expect to be flummoxed by. By being relatively simple it’s also fairly short, but $4.99 still remains a perfectly reasonable price to pay as it’s satisfying to play through.