Review: Righteous Kill (iOS)
Who knew hunting down vigilantes could be so… dull?
Have any of you seen the 2008 movie Righteous Kill? It stars the Dynamic Duo, the greatest tag team in the history of ever, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. They play two veteran cops hunting a vigilante taking out criminals. Lots of scenery chewing, and it is glorious. Every single minute of it. Throw Donnie “New Kid on the Block” Wahlberg, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and John “Luigi Mario” Leguizamo into the mix, and it’s pure magic.
The folks over at Starz Media liked the movie so much, they were inspired to make a game loosely based on the movie and called it… Righteous Kill. Fancy that eh?
Genre: Hidden Object/Crime Mystery
Developer: Starz Media
Publisher: G5 Games
Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad) Also on: PC
Original Release Date: October 31, 2012
ESRB Rating: N/A
Reason for Rating: N/A
*This review was based on my experience playing on the iPhone 4S.
You play as Detective Dean, who transferred to the newly-formed Vigilante Unit to hunt down those taking the law into their own hands. Your first case involves one Terry Collins, whose wife and daughter were gunned down two years earlier. The accused killer was set free, but someone chose to deal out some hard justice. Terry’s the prime suspect, so you have to stop him before he strikes again.
Interrogating the Presentation
The visuals are okay. The locations you visit for the Hidden Object games look nice, and the objects on screen are very detailed. That’s the most important part, as you’ll be spending the majority of your time on these screens.
The story is told using still shots for the most part, with a couple of animated sequences thrown in occasionally. Those too aren’t too bad. Nothing to write home about, but still, they get the job done, so to speak.
The audio is not so hot. The same three songs play on a loop, and none of them are memorable. The ambient sound effects try to get you immersed in the environment, but they are a bit distracting, so I end up turning those off in a hurry.
Presentation-wise, looks nice, but the sounds aren’t up to snuff.
Looking for the Hidden Object Called “Fun”
In each of the 15 chapters, you go to different locations on the map and look for clues, initiating the Hidden Object game. There are 15 Objects to find per location, and if you ever get stuck, you can use the UV Flashlight option in the upper left to highlight one of the items you need to find. There’s no penalty for using the Flashlight, but there is a “cooldown” period requiring you to wait between uses.
Once you’ve visited all the locations on the map and found all the items, you’ll play through the Mini Game. They range from comparing two images, putting ripped documents back together, and dusting for prints. They’re less frustrating than trying to find the “magic pixel” like in the Hidden Object games. If you get stuck, you can choose to skip puzzles.
It’s your typical Hidden Object game, which is good, but also too easy. There’s no challenge and no other difficulty levels; you can just click that UV Flashlight over again if you wanted. Something that drove me batty at times is that the game didn’t always recognise when I’m tapping on an object after I found it, often forcing me to tap on it multiple times before it registers, even when fully zoomed in. It’s one of those situations where you’ll have to click on that “magic pixel” in order for it to count; anything outside that pixel, even if you’re clicking right in the middle of the object, doesn’t count. I would like to think that this is would be easier on the iPad with its larger surface.
Also, given that this is a mystery game where you have to track down a suspected killer, I would think that you would go around interrogating people, chase down suspects… you know, detective stuff. But all you do is hop around to one of the 16 locations in the game over and over again, look for objects (often the same ones every visit), and play one of five Mini Game types (again, the Mini Games repeat themselves). Any plot development that occurs is usually revealed with a quick dialogue box at the end of the chapter. It doesn’t help that the few cut scenes in the game are poorly voiced; like the actresses are just reading off the paper with minimal effort (put some LIFE into that line read!). You can’t get a beat on them, and they come off very one dimensional. I also noticed that sometimes the spoken lines begin before the previous one is finish, almost cutting the line off.
I can’t help but think back to my experience with another Hidden Object game, Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill. You’re looking for a killer, finding Hidden Objects, and playing Mini Games, just as you are here. But, you’re also exploring the areas you visit, interrogating people, finding (and using) the objects in your possession, and the characters have some semblance of a personality, making them interesting. I wish you could do all those things in Righteous Kill, as it is, it’s nothing more than just busy work and doesn’t feel like a detective story at all.
As mentioned earlier, the game only has 15 chapters, so it isn’t long, per say. But the hopping around from place to place feels like a play to artificially lengthen how long the game actually is, making it quite boring.
Being Righteous All Over Again?
Sadly, there isn’t much of a reason to play through again. There are Achievements, but you can get them all in your first playthrough. Since you don’t speak to anyone, there isn’t anything like branching dialogues or the sort, thus resulting in only one ending. That’s all.
I can’t even suggest playing through the game again for the story because the story isn’t compelling enough. There’s just nothing here.
Keep That Case File Closed
The biggest negative I can give this game is that it’s named after a film starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars. There’s nothing special about cops chasing down a vigilante, so I don’t understand the need to “loosely base” this game after the movie at all. They could’ve named this game anything, really; it wouldn’t have made a difference as the experience will still the same. It feels like they were hoping on riding the coattails of the film; that it would boost exposure and sales of a game that’s way too repetitive and, sadly, mediocre.
The demo is available on iTunes, however, there are better Hidden Object games out there. Therefore, I can’t recommend this game.
Good Job, Detective
+ Visuals look nice
Try Again, Copper!
– No variety in the music, no memorable tunes
– Going to the same places over and over again is rather dull; makes the game feel longer than it was
– Only five Mini Game types that are played over and over again
– Doesn’t really feel like a mystery/detective game
– Nothing to do after you finish the game