Criminal Case (commonly abbreviated as “CC”) is a detective-themed hidden object game released on November 15, 2012 for Facebook. An iOS version was released worldwide on August 28, 2014, followed by an Android version on April 15, 2015. Developed and published by French indie studio Pretty Simple, Criminal Case has over ten million average monthly users. Criminal Case has become a very popular game since the start of 2013 and also has been highly competitive with Candy Crush Saga, the most popular game on Facebook with over 46 million average monthly users. On December 9, 2013, Criminal Case was crowned the Facebook Game of the Year 2013, beating Candy Crush.
Gameplay: The player acts as a detective to solve murders, locating relevant clues at crime scenes by clicking items in the scene. Rapid clue location is rewarded with greater scores; the player earns Stars that can later be used as a type of currency for performing tasks such as examining evidence and interrogating suspects. During this process, the player will also have to come across necessary autopsies and analyses that may take a few real-time hours to complete.
After reaching the requirements, the player must reason who the killer is from one of the suspects, eventually proceeding to the next case afterwards.
There are also puzzle elements to the game, such as puzzle-style hidden object scenes that must be unscrambled and few simple click-and-drag activities (dubbed “forensic mini-games”) to add some more variety to the player’s routine. Other additional content include purchasing police dogs and customizing the player’s avatar using in-game currencies, obtaining collectibles, utilizing special power-ups, etc.
There are also various progression features integrated into the game. The most relevant of these is the energy meter; energy (symboled with a lightning bolt) is necessary to investigate crime scenes.
Plot: Set in a contemporary fictionalized version of the United States, the game begins when the silent protagonist – an anonymous rookie cop whose name actually corresponds to the gamer’s entered name – is shown pursuing a career with the Grimsborough Police Department; a law enforcement agency in the fictional city of Grimsborough (which seems to have been modeled after New York City). Partnered alongside Inspector Jones – a senior but lazy and comical detective in the force – the protagonist soon proves an auspicious talent, defying obstacles like ruthless murderers, serial killers, and notorious organizations, even catching the mayor’s attention in the process. The game’s cases are divided into chapters and are presented as a visual novel.
After solving a total of fifty-six cases across Grimsborough, the protagonist succeeds in bringing peace back to the city, thus earning a major promotion to the Pacific Bay Police Department; the primary law enforcement agency in Pacific Bay (a fictional city principally based on the likes of Los Angeles, California). The protagonist then receives a farewell party from fellow Grimsborough PD officers before departing with memories and respect.
Leaving Grimsborough, the protagonist sets foot in the city of Pacific Bay. Now assigned with Officer Young and Detective Knight in the Pacific Bay PD, the protagonist’s promising career is continued in the same, impressive manner.
In the White Peaks section of Pacific Bay we encounter a hermit living in the woods named ‘Allen Muir’ who bears a striking resemblance to writer Allan Moore.
Popularity: Already by the start of 2013, Criminal Case had enticed many users towards it.
As of mid-2013, Criminal Case attracted more than ten million monthly average users and became highly competitive with Candy Crush Saga, the most popular game on Facebook with over 46 million average monthly users.
On December 9, 2013, Criminal Case won the Facebook Game of the Year 2013 award. The game has a 40-percent share of Facebook users.
Some reasons cited for the game’s success include its graphic crime scenes and meaningful narratives.