Romance Detective 2
Last year over at JIG, we reviewed a quirky little game known as Romance Detective, in which a dynamic duo team up to fight crime. But it's not just any kind of bad behavior that Chrys, a local cop, and her partner, the infamous Romance Detective seek out to investigate. It is crimes of passion, or ones committed in the name of love that piques their interest. After all, all's fair in love and war, so why not justice? Before reading further, I'd suggest playing the previous game (linked above) to avoid spoilers.
Still reading? Well, you can't say I didn't warn you! In the first episode, Romance Detective and her partner Chrys, soon to be rechristened Romance Cop investigated a sudden burst of infatuation. The culprit, it turned out, was none other than the very flower that symbolizes love, a rose. After an attempt to gather and burn all the roses in the city backfired in a most unusual way, they were forced to call in the help of a raucous teenager with an attitude no one could love. But ultimately, they got a handle on the rambunctious young lad and convinced him to help execute a Plan B: sending all of the roses to the moon.
All seemed well and dandy, and all of the fake love lost from the city of Lovebloom - at first, anyway. But when the roses in the moon have a rather unexpected reaction, the problem becomes ten times worse than before. What the smoke from the burning roses did to one small town in the first episode is now greatly magnified, and not just there but across the whole world - with the moon covered in a rose garden that has sprung into bloom all over it! In a weird global phenomenon, people have turned into lovestruck zombies at night with the reflection of the moonlight.
How could this have happened? Is there some huge coincidence that a garden sprung up on a moon supposedly not even capable of supporting life? It turns out that there is some foul play involved, but uncovering who, what, why, and when is a bit more complicated. But after all, you are a detective, and not just any one, but the Romance Detective. It's up to you to save the world from its fate of widespread manufactured love!
In our review of the original game, we noted the strictly linear nature of the story and how choices are presented, but noted how these make no difference to the eventual outcome of the story. In Romance Detective 2, you are again given a number of choices at certain critical points of the story - where to go, what to examine, what things to do. Although some of these are again superfluous and don't really affect anything more substantial than the order in which the characters end up doing things, others do have a meaningful effect on the plot and eventual ending of the story. The game does feature multiple endings, so you may end up playing through a few times to get them all - or at least, going back to the point of decision so you can start anew, as is offered at the end.
You can use the keyboard [Space] or click the mouse to advance the dialogue - of which there are many! On a panel on the right-hand side of the dialogue, you'll find a number of miscellaneous options. You can select 'Items' to more closely examine the objects in your possession, or to use them at certain times. By clicking 'Save,' you'll be able to save your progress in one of several game slots in case you are about to make a key decision and want to pause the story there, or in case you might want a break. If the text is a little too much volume, or it's not your first playthrough of the story, there's a 'Skip' option to deal with that. Finally, clicking 'Options' gives some other miscellaneous settings for the text messages, volume, and other standard things.
Although Romance Detective 2 was ultimately released in unfinished form by the author, the story is complete along with multiple endings. You will find rough sketches of some of the characters here and there, in some places more than others, rather than fully polished drawings. But that's okay - even incomplete, it's still easy to see that it's a work of art - or rather should I say, a labor of love.
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