The Nick Bounty mysteries are flash games (or free downloads) from the independent Pinhead Games company. The first mystery is called A Case Of The Crabs and the second The Goat In The Gray Fedora, which gives you an idea of just how serious they are.
Nick Bounty is a parody of a hardboiled detective, with deadpan painful metaphors and black-and-white sketch noir graphics. You don’t have to love trenchcoat detective stories, old movies or retro gaming to enjoy this free flash game, but it helps.
I’ve written about feeling trapped in games with set answers, and the need to pick the “correct” choice or highest-point choice instead of the funniest dialogue choice. In Nick Bounty games, when you pick a sarcastic comment, instead of the obvious plot-advancing choice, the game shoots sarcasm right back at you.
Nick Bounty uses the old-fashioned click-hand interface. Players have a basic selection of action options and an inventory of items, and you need to use those items and actions to solve the little puzzles that make up the big puzzle of the mystery. Items include a 500-page fingerprinting manual, a make-your-own fake ID. and a fake crab.
Like most games of this style, it pays to be a klepto. Feel free to try using all sorts of things in combination, the game is not punishing for “wrong” choices, in fact, it often rewards players’ creative uses with funny responses. At the worst, Nick’ll tell you he’s not touching that.
A Case Of The Crabs combines a fun retro interface, constant nods to the detective genre, sarcastic commentary and counterfeit crabs. Add your own something-fishy pun here.
I haven’t been posting many reviews over here, because I’m now writing game reviews for ThumbGods.com. I’m really pleased about it, I’ve been hoping to get a spot where someone besides my mother will read my reviews (Sorry Mom, but after all those nice things you said about my macaroni necklaces in kindergarten, your opinion of my projects can’t be trusted!). I’ve recently written on Totem Tribe, Atlantis, and the adorable new indie game Momo’s Quest, and I also wrote a walkthrough for MyTribe over there.