This is going to sound exceptionally weird, given that we’ll be talking about a game involving the constant threat of murder, but Gothic Murder: Adventure that Changes Destiny is one of the lightest adventure snacks I’ve had in a long time. While the threat of murder looms over each of its chapters, it’s easy to digest.
Ellie is a novice maid and orphan who, frankly, found herself in a fortunate position. She managed to get a job in the manor of Lord Irving Roquiford. Well, fortunate for both Irving and herself. His father died and a séance is being held to go over the will and determine the heir. His uncle, aunt, cousin (who is also his fiancé), a mysterious man, and a medium have come together to figure things out.
Except, well, somebody is constantly trying to kill Irving.
While this is billed as a romantic adventure game with some otome elements, Gothic Murder is largely a straightforward investigation game. Each chapter begins with Ellie dreaming Irving died. She then interacts with people in the mansion, visiting different rooms and choosing different dialogue options that might do things like make it seem like she’s endeared herself to people, such as Irving and Ewen. It’s very text heavy, with the localization being better than I expected for the sort of game this is.
In each chapter, a number of investigation points will come up as Ellie does her duties and attempts to keep her new boss alive. (While she isn’t exactly forthright about how she knows things are awry, Irving refreshingly trusts in his newest employee and values both her intelligence and insight.) These include investigation phases, during which you’ll explore a scene and look for evidence and suspect items, and confrontation segments where you question or discuss things with people.
In both situations, Gothic Murder feels like a lighter version of Orange’s Jake Hunter series. (Yes, this game has a surprising pedigree!) Or, if you haven’t played those games, Capcom’s Ace Attorney series. You’ll move around a map, just like in those entries. You’ll question people or learn information that can be added to a memo. You’ll investigate items at scenes, learning details about them and adding them to your wealth of insight. When you talk to someone, you’ll be able to draw upon your collection of evidence to support your assertions or corner them into admitting the truth.
Given the nature of the game, some of its elements could be seen as positives or negatives. This is a relatively short adventure that could be completed in a single sitting. While it is billed as “romantic,” it’s not a dating sim along the lines of Sweet Fuse. The cases do gradually get more complicated and could make you think, but it starts off very basic. And, while the translation is rather good for being a smaller project, there are some moments where a small error might slip through.
I think what really helps is the presentation. Gothic Murder isn’t billed as an epic. Given the premise, it would be exhausting if it went on too long. For a game about a maid stopping her boss from being killed repeatedly, the length is about right. It also looks really great, with plenty of CGs for a title of its size that keep the murder scenes from being too unsettling.
Gothic Murder: Adventure that Changes Destiny is the sort of adventure game you play when you need a break between massive games. It’s a reprieve that will make you think, but isn’t terribly taxing. Its story is also interesting enough, with a heroine who exhibits both common sense and intelligence.
Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, and Android devices. As the official site points out, on mobile devices, the first chapter is free.