Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand That Feeds
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-03-26 Android Puzzle T (Teen) G5 Entertainment

I had some technical problems trying to install and run the new Special Enquiry Detail for PC, so in the meantime, I downloaded and played the first game in the series on my phone. Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand That Feeds is a mix of hidden object and crime scene investigation. You assist detectives Brody Lamonte and Cathy Turino in solving the murder of Carmody Phelps, a teenager who was killed in her own bedroom while her parents were attending a fundraiser.

The game is basically separated into three areas: hidden object scenes, puzzles and story sequences. The larger portion of my time was spent looking around for certain items in a particular scene, and even though I've played enough of these games in the past, for some reason it all seemed more enjoyable this time around.

Maybe because it was integrated with the story and dialogs really well, since part of the objects in the list were sometimes clues or items to be used in forensic investigation. For example, you need to find all the tools that are missing in the CSI kit, and then use tweezers to retrieve a bullet. Later on you will also have to dust for prints, put a cell phone together and swab someone's hand for residue.

Using the simple pinch to zoom and tap to retrieve object commands, all you need to do is carefully examine the given scene while checking the list at the bottom of the screen for what you need to find. There was a bit of an issue with the item list, as sometimes it was like the entire name wouldn't fit in the slot. "Thermo" referred to a thermometer, while "Traf" was a street light. I would have never guessed, so I was thankful for the hint system (the police badge that appears on the lower left corner when it's ready for use).

For the puzzle sequences, some of them involve actual puzzles with pieces where you must reveal an image, connect the wires by rotating the existing blocks, dodging security and cleaning crew while you sneak through an apartment building. While there are no hints during the puzzles, there is a timer bar, which, when full, allows you to skip the puzzle.

The story and dialogs are really well-written. You will slowly discover more and more facts that connect people together, making pretty much everyone a suspect. At some point, I had no idea who the killer could be anymore, until eventually something clicked and it all made sense. All the while, you deal with pressure from the Captain and the Mayor, who don't want a scandal, and a pesky reporter who is trying to get the word out. The game involves you in the investigation not only by finding items or talking to people, but also by receiving important emails on the computers of both detectives.

When you finally solve the case and confront the killer, you unlock "Free Play", a bonus mode where you can go back to all the scenes you've visited during the story and find all of the objects (as you find them, more will appear in the list) and also re-play all the puzzles.

Having Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand That Feeds with me anywhere allowed me to play a little bit at a time on the bus or on my lunch break at work, and still pick up where I left off later on without missing a thing. And while I wasn't expecting much in terms of a hidden object game, I found myself interested in the story, characters and events right from the start, and really enjoyed the surprises and complex plot right up to the end of the adventure.

Special thanks to Vera Mayuk and G5 Entertainment for providing a copy of this title.