In Sanuk Games latest PSP Minis release we take a walk around the streets of London’s East End in search of Jack The Ripper.
Jack The Ripper is one of the worlds most famous serial killers, in the 1880’s he brutally killed several women in London’s Whitechapel. The killer was never found but there were several suspects including Masonic conspiracy theories, a prince and a doctor. Actual Crimes: Jack The Ripper puts you in the role of a young Scotland Yard detective who must visit the crime scenes to find clues which will lead you to the killer.
The game is split into five chapters which revolve around each of the murdered women. You initially visit the crime scene armed with a list of potential clues in the form of items and must find them on the screen. The items are often hidden in very cunning places so methodical searching is required to locate them. A sword could be hidden on a railing and at a quick glance it looks just like a railing, but upon close inspection all is revealed. Sometimes items can be staring you in the face and you will kick yourself for not noticing it sooner. There were occasionally some issues with locating the correct items, there may be multiple ‘ink bottles’ hidden but you must find the correct one despite there being others. Some items may also be unfamiliar and require a quick look on the internet to find out what it is, an example being a Yoke which is a device used by Oxen to pull farm machinery. If you do get stuck you can use a hint which will point out the general area of an hidden item.
This clue gathering process will continue for a few locations, taking you around the back streets of London through to landmarks such as Buckingham Palace until a potential suspect is found. In between the puzzles, a short piece of the story is told which helps keep the game flowing. The game is based on real facts including victims names, the locations of the murders and so on. It gives the game a sense of authenticity and it is always good to learn something new.
There are a few mini games which provide a nice alternative to the hidden item puzzles, these include spot the difference, sliding pictures, matching pairs of cards and a jigsaw style puzzle. The mini games keep the game refreshing but I would have liked to have seen them used a little more to break up the slightly repetitive nature of the hidden item puzzles.
It will take around three to four hours to complete an investigation. This may sound a little short but the game can be replayed with new puzzles, the hidden items will be different each time. Two difficulties are available to play, the normal difficulty is more forgiving and allows for incorrect guesses. The harder difficulty introduces a time limit to complete the puzzle, incorrectly locating a item will reduce the timer. The harder difficulty provides a good challenge and certainly keeps you on your toes!
Actual Crimes: Jack The Ripper costs £3.49/€3.99, it is good value for money with a fairly lengthy time to complete an investigation and the the random puzzle generation does give some replay value. If you like puzzle solving and want to learn some history along the way then this is right up your alley, just watch out for Jack the Ripper!
Actual Crimes: Jack The Ripper is available now in UK and Europe on PSP Minis via the PlayStation Store, it will be released in the US at a later date.