Investigate Jack the Ripper on PSP Minis.
Actual Crimes: Jack The Ripper, from Sanuk Games, is a sleuth puzzle game in which the player takes the role of a detective practising, at the time of the murders what was a relatively new method of detection, forensics and half of a detective duo who are reinvestigating the crimes of Jack The Ripper in and around Whitechapel in London. The games story is based on the real case and there are a lot of facts involving the crimes thrown in there, so you do actually learn a little something as you play. Sure, what you are learning is all rather morbid, but still interesting.
The gameplay, like most games in this genre, is mostly a puzzle filled romp, the majority of which involves you visiting the crime scenes, suspects places of residence or work and other locations linked to the crimes. On arriving at these scenes the player is presented with a view of the scene which, while zoomed out, fills a single screen. The player can zoom in and then pan around that view in a little more detail. You control a pointer, moving it around the screen with either the d-pad or the analogue nub. The point of this is that you are searching for various objects or evidence which is listed for the player on the left hand side of the screen. Items are marked from the list as you find them.
This is not quite as easy as it may sound however, as some of the items are sometimes smaller than you may think, or even a lot larger than expected, and then even on some occasions blended into other items within the scene. This can occasionally lead to the site of a huge semi transparent bowler hat floating in the sky – strange but tough to spot. Finding these items would not be such a problem if it was not for one other fact. For the extra challenge you can play against the clock. You can turn this off at the beginning of the game, but really, where is the challenge in doing that? Upon finding all the items in a location you are either taken to the next scene or occasionally, if a significant piece of evidence was found in a location which relates to the crime such as a blood stained handkerchief, set of tarot cards or a set of keys, leads the player to another memory based mini game. These can range from figuring out and remembering a sequence of coloured keys in the order they need to be used, piecing together a puzzle, either in a jigsaw style or in the sliding tile puzzle style, or even a game of pairs, based on the old card game where you flip over two cards from a selection trying to match up the identical card.
Playing against the clock, as you really should if you want a challenge, will give you more of a challenge as there is the chance you could miss a vital piece of evidence that leads to a successful conclusion to the game. Although this is the more challenging way to play the game, you can of course play with the timer turned of and complete the puzzles in a more relaxed manner, or skip them altogether. On completing all of the puzzles, timed or not, it is up to you to point out who you think may have been the ripper from the available suspects.
The graphics for what they are, single screen scenes, are pretty well drawn with the objects you need to find well blended into the background, ensuring the game and the puzzles, of which there are quite few, are a challenge. Although some locations are revisited, it remains a challenge as the objects you need to find on these revisits are switched up.
On the sound front, there is not much required of the game. The first thing I did upon reaching the five minutes in mark however, was to visit the options and turn off the music, leaving some simple sound effects and ambient sounds in the locations.
So, for a game in the Minis range, what you get here is a mediocre puzzle game which fans of that type of game will have no problem with. There are however many better examples out there and although the game offers up a series of fun puzzles to keep you entertained for a short while, given time the appeal soon disappears and leaves you wanting for something more.