Jenny LeClue - Detectivu



Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:  Mografi

Publisher:    Mografi

Released:   September 19, 2019

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher 
  • Processor: Quad Core Intel i5 or AMD equivalent processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000 or better
  • Storage: 2 GB available space 
  • Notes: Some websites that list system requirements say the game will run with 32-bit Windows XP and any processor that supports SSE2 instruction set, but GOG and Steam both list Windows 7 and a quad core processor. 



By flotsam

Jenny LeClue - Detectivu


When I first fired this up, knowing next to nothing about it, I wasn’t sure it was going to be my sort of thing. A bit too casual perhaps, a little too Nancy Drew-ish maybe, and possibly best suited to a younger audience. But not too far in and my feelings started to change, and I have to confess to having 12 or so hours of solidly excellent fun.

In terms of its challenge it remains adventure-lite throughout, and “gentle” is perhaps the best description. But it delivers a rollicking good “girls own” adventure, one with a surprising twist or two, and which grows in mysteriousness as we move along.

There is wit (very well done), as well as strength, and sadness, plus some teenage tension and cliques. There are also some surprisingly strong moments, and I hesitated a couple of times before making one of the many choices that arise throughout. I got the impression these were more about helping to draw me into the story than they were with determining the path of the events, and they did that well.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the main protagonist is the eponymous detective Jenny LeClue. A bit more surprisingly, she is fictional within the game world. More of that in a moment.

Young, driven and intelligent, Jenny thinks of herself as smarter than most everyone else, and while there is a lot to admire about her she is far from a flawless heroine. How contrary she might be you can decide through the choices the game gives you throughout – cajole or encourage, confront or support. Regardless of your choices, you might want to shake her at times, and hug her at others.

Many other characters are equally well rounded, but of all of them, Jenny’s wanna be best friend Suzie was my favourite. Discover her for yourself, and enjoy.

As indicated, Jenny is not “real”. Rather, she is the invention of Arthur K Finklestein, and is the main character in his series books. The novels are set in the town of Arthurton, where nothing mysterious ever seems to happen and Jenny yearns for a case more challenging than finding lost reading glasses or missing test papers. But after 38 books, Arthur well knows what he likes, and things look like continuing in the same vein. However in the face of falling sales, Arthur’s editors demand that Arthur introduce some “real world” intrigue into the events, or else his book contract is over.

What results is Arthur at his writing desk, wrestling with these outrageous demands and typing the adventure that unfolds. We quickly go from mundane to serious intrigue, with shadowy figures and where nothing is as it seems.

While the bulk of the game is spent in Jenny’s world, we do spend time in the “real” world with Arthur, ruminating with him over strawberry jam and bouncing thoughts off his dog. You can explore his desk to uncover more of his creative process, and you also help him make a significant character decision towards the end of the game.

Arthur is also present in the game world, popping up to provide narration about things Jenny might be doing or what she might be thinking. What’s more, some of the best interaction occurs “between” Jenny and Arthur, as he writes what he intends and she does what she wants. It helps make his creation real, which is how I imagine many authors feel about their characters.

The game ends “to be continued”, and with some big threads left open. I wasn’t disappointed, as I thought there was significant closure across the game, and that some matters unresolved were recent developments. There are also some really big issues that require at least another 12 hours to properly uncover, but you might feel differently.

There is no spoken word, which suits the fact that we are playing a book. How people sound is in your head, as it is in books, and I would far prefer that to less than satisfactory voice acting. Dialogue appears in a ribbon at the bottom of the screen, with a headshot of the person speaking. It is delivered in a way that reflects how the author intends it to be received, although if you are impatient you can click to force the whole ribbon to be disclosed. Even then, you might not have more than a few words, and my advice would be to just let it unfold as it occurs. You will though have to click to advance the completed dialogue on a very frequent basis.

Despite no spoken word, it is nonetheless a rich game in terms of auditory input, with excellent ambient sounds supported by an equally good musical score. It accentuates mood, as a good score should, as opposed to just being background music.

The animation style is engaging and well suited to the vibe of the thing. Characters look a little like those paper dolls you cut out and dressed with cut out clothes, but are animated to a wonderful degree. Facial expressions are just the start; Jenny pushes her spectacles up her nose, her coat swishes as she moves quickly, her legs sway as she shimmies along a rope. Little details matter; in one part Jenny will visibly reach to her collar and switch on or off a light as she moves from a light to a dark area. Lighting more generally changes, inside, outside, night and day, and underground. I thought it was all top notch.

The game is played in the third person and is predominantly side scrolling, and is generally viewed from side on as such games are (there is a top down perspective for one sequence). However the combination of the camera zooming in and out and the scene construction itself adds depth and perspective to the scenes. Even though moving right, Jenny will look sometimes as if she is walking down steps and towards you, meaning there is nothing flat about the final product.

Cut scenes are plenty, and add another layer to the storytelling.

As well as left and right, Jenny needs to move up and down, climbing ladders and other things. She also jumps and leaps, pushes and pulls, but there is no dexterity or timing required. The most complicated it gets is pressing two keys together (e.g. forward and enter) to make her execute the necessary jump.

It is a game that is played entirely with the keyboard, but you can map the keys to suit you, thanks to a recent update. The game autosaves, indicated by an icon bottom left, and if you try and exit it will tell you how long it is since the last save. On one occasion it said 16 minutes ago, so I was minded to press on rather than repeat that 16 minutes. That was the outrider, with saves being reasonably frequent.

As you walk back and forth, little green diamonds will become visible over items of interest, and as you draw closer, the diamond will be replaced by a pop up message saying something like “investigate the machine” or “read the sign”. That might result in a close up in which you move the cursor around the screen to find the active hotspots to investigate said machine, or whatever the item is. Interrogating people works the same way; a close up of the individual concerned requires you to identify the various clues by moving the cursor around the image. The number of clues to be found will be made known to you.

At various times, usually after an interrogation, you will be required to make a deduction. This involves picking those three pieces of information from about five or six things known that will answer the question posed. If you aren’t correct, you get to try again.

As well, walking about might result in the image of a magnifying glass appearing. Activating it results in you searching the screen in front of you for an item not visible other than with the glass. There are many items to be found just for fun, stickers with which you can decorate your journal, or scraps of postcards you can assemble when you have found all of them, but some things necessary for moving on require the magnifying glass. So ignore the image at your peril!

Just on that, I did find that if I made Jenny run I was more likely to miss generating the magnifying glass. So hasten judicially perhaps.

You find items, but you don’t have an inventory in the traditional sense. If Jenny needs an item you have found the game will just move on.

Out and out puzzles will also be generated through the little pop up messages. Some repeat, including tuning in radio frequencies and picking locks.

None are hard, like the game in general, and there were quite a few of them, which was a plus. While I didn’t need more of some of them, none were overdone to the point of being tedious or annoying. The level of difficulty also ensures the tale keeps moving along.

I admit to forsaking the sticker hunt for moving on, and having interrogated my journal at the end it looked like I found just over half of the 60 that are available. I also only completed two of the four postcards, and didn’t even generate some of the choices available (kept track of under the nifty “choosiness” journal tab). I also have about 15 Steam achievements outstanding.

As a result of an update (which seems to be the result of the makers responding to the feedback), you can now jump back into the game at the beginning of any of the 44 scenes, to find more stuff or make different choices. As far as I can tell, you can do that without affecting the completed chapters, unless of course you choose to play from that point. Which for me simply means I can go back and try to find the stuff I missed.

You can tweak things at the settings screen, including whether you have a time limit to make your choices.

I like a game that surprises me, and this did that. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would, it went places I wasn’t expecting, and many elements were far better done than in other games. Well done to all involved.


I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7 GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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