Famicom Detective Club Review
There are some games from the NES era that we never got in the West. Nintendo has started bringing some of them over like Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U and the very first Fire Emblem on the Switch. And now Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind have been translated and will be on the Nintendo Switch soon. Are these games any good? Here is our two-in-one review of the Famicom Detective Club games!
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind are two separate games listed for $34.99 each on the eshop. Though if you buy one, you will get $10 off the other one.
The titles were first released as Famicom (NES) games that only appeared in Japan, in 1988 and 1989. For the Switch, their graphics have been updated. The graphics were 8-bit style on the NES and on the Switch they are drawn and very nice looking. While some may balk at the price Nintendo is charging for these older titles, the updates are well worth the investment. This wasn’t shoveled onto the Nintendo Switch; it was created with genuine care and devotion, to maintain the feel of hte original while brining it into the 21st century.
There is some movement in these games but overall the characters are static. The Famicom Detective Club games are Adventure games in the vain of NES classics like Deju Vu and The Uninvited. It’s worth noting here that the 1989 release of The Girl That Stands Behind is actually a prequel to the 1988 release, The Missing Heir.
The gameplay between these two games is pretty similar and very simplistic. You play as a young detective attempting to unravel separate cases and you have a menu were you choose from options like talking to people, traveling places, and more. There are times when the next text path you need to select is not clear, nor does it take a logical path. This will result in players simply clicking on random talking/examining/showing options until something happens to trigger the next even in the game. It’s a bit frustrating at times, but it only takes a few minutes to select every option in the menu, and at some point, you are bound to trigger what is next.
Neither are as inactive as what you’d find in most modern games, which is one way you can tell these titles are straight out of the NES era. The simplistic nature of the game, controls, and mechanics makes it an easy game to port, as well. If you like old school Adventure games or visual novels, then you’ll probably really enjoy these games.
Both games have good music and sound effects. Added to the Nintendo Switch version is complete Japanese voice acting, which is superbly done. From the actual talking to the range of emotions, the various voice actors and actresses that brought this game to life have helped elevate the overall feel of the experience. That makes sense, because the games are set in Japan. The text translation for both games are mostly good with only an occasional error from time-to-time.
What really separates the two games are their stories, which are different with some similar aspects. I’ll talk about them briefly while trying to avoid too many spoilers!
The Missing Heir
This is the first Famicom Detective Club game to come out. It introduces you to the main character and the people he works with. It is set later on in the franchises timeline. It introduces your character in a very interesting way, that offers one mystery that leads you to another mystery. Was this a basic description? Yes it was, but it’s better than spoiling any of the great plot moments. To put it basically, you have two possibly interconnected mysteries to solve in this game. Its a good story!
The Girl Who Stands Behind
This is the second game released for the Famicom Detective Club series. However, it sets very early on in the series timeline. It also introduces you to the young detective and his co-workers. So either of these games can be played first. If you want the first in the timeline, that would be this one, but there is something to be said about playing the games as they were released. While it’s up to you, I preferred the later approach.
Just like The Missing Heir, one mystery leads you to another mystery that seem to be very connected. So you have to figure out what’s going on with one thing and the other at the same time. This one is a little spookier, but is equally as good.
The Famicom Detective Club games are both good games. If you like one of them, you’ll like both of them. I like that Nintendo is bringing over, and in this case remaking, games that never appeared in the west before. I hope we’ll see many more NES (and SNES?!) games appear on the Switch eshop in either updated or their original forms.
Famicom Detective Club is one of these series’ brought to the west that is worth checking out if you love adventure games.
Thank you to Nintendo Canada for the review codes for The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind. Both games will be available on the Nintendo Switch Friday, May 14, 2021.