The Shapeshifting Detective is a supernatural-noir murder mystery FMV game where you play as a detective who can shapeshift into other characters, allowing you to unlock secret conversations and private encounters.
Title: The Shapeshifting Detective | Developer: D’Avekki Studios | Publisher: Wales Interactive | Release Date: 11/06/2018 | Genre: Supernatural Detective Noir | Style: FMV Interactive | Platform: Windows PC/Steam | Source: Self-Purchased | Starred Review
The Shapeshifting Detective Review
FMV games have really improved. In the nineties they were known for their cheese and there are a lot of great reviews of some of the better/worse ones out there. But as of late, the FMVs have been getting much better.
The Shapeshifting Detective had a great story to it. I loved it enough to give it a Starred rating but, if we were still doing this numerically, it would be a four instead of a five. I really loved the murder mystery but the ‘killer’ (I believe there are three different endings and killers possible) was a bit of a letdown. I think if they had chosen just one singular killer and ending then yes, they may lose a bit of replay value but the story would be much, much stronger
For as good as the story was I would have liked the murder aspect of it to be stronger. It almost gets buried under some of the later additions. Which, to be clear, I really didn’t mind. The other aspects gave it an almost Twin Peaks feel to it.
I really liked the shifter aspect of the game. It was fun to see what new conversations opened up or talk to people and have them be puzzled by your presence. It made a lot more sense than mind-hopping (although, objectively, shapeshifting into another human is just as weird, really). It was also fun to slightly mess with people and there were a couple of ‘oops’ moments (I accidentally accepted a proposal).
I loved the characters. They were so much fun to talk to and the acting was great. The conversations flowed naturally and while it’s possible to piss someone off I never hit a total dead end. Even when the story starts to get…weird…I was still totally interested in the heart of the story and the game.
Which is really where my interest was. The detective aspect dealt mostly with following conversations to their conclusion, getting the clue on who to talk to next, and go from there. I would have liked a little more depth but sometimes that can be hard to do in a specific format. I was a little bummed, however, that I didn’t get more info on the Detective that you play as. Although, it’s entirely possible that I screwed up the after-credits question and I need to play through it again to answer differently.
If I had one major complaint it would be with the in-between scenes while you’re deciding where to go and who to talk to. It’s very wavery and looks very nice but it also made me queasy if I stayed in that mode for too long. I did like the short stories told ‘on the radio’ in the interstices, though. They were well written and performed and sometimes I’d just let them play to hear them.
I would definitely recommend The Shapeshifting Detective if you’re looking for an FMV with good acting and a good story.
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.