Welcome to New London, a solarpunk Utopia of the 2060s. Take on the mantle of Detective Grosvenor — a jaded, middle-aged detective — and track down a radicalised serial killer in a dark underworld. An accessible, interesting detective game, test your powers of deduction and see if you can solve the case in Ring of Fire.
Far Few Giants have created a narrative that encourages players to actively engage with the game. From taking notes on paper in the real world to choosing things to search in-game via the police computer and sat-nav, players aren’t led by the hand. Conversations are ambiguous and don’t give you feedback as to whether what you said was right or wrong, good or bad. Clues could lead to nothing, or you run the risk of missing something completely. Foolhardy in my approach to the game, I ignored the suggestion of having a notepad to hand.
I restarted — an important piece of information escaped me and I didn’t know what to do. I made a mistake, but I wasn’t frustrated. I just sat up and paid attention a little bit more, with a text editor open on my Desktop which I could alt-tab to when I needed.
Mechanically, this is a point-and-click and conversation-driven game. But with the use of the police computer and sat-nav to look up crime reports, locations, and people of interest, it is up to the player to comprehend information that the game gives to them. If you are to solve a case, you need to have all the necessary information, and type it into the police computer.
There is no shortcut.
With inspiration from games like Her Story and Neo Cab, the game’s creators have also remarked how board games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective helped influence the direction of the game. With the correct deductions inputted into the sat-nav or police computer, the game will progress and take you where you need to go.
Each locale and scene is depicted in crisp and clean artstyle. Eye-popping, flat colour which resembles a comic book rendering. In contrast, the dialogue draws the player back into the gruesome manner of some of the murders. Oftentimes resembling scenes from Sin City in its approach. In an interview, the designers were actually inspired by the work of Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and were actively reducing the colour palette for the game to enhance this aesthetic. Coupled with the slick visuals, Ring of Fire has an ambient, lo-fi soundtrack. This lends itself to its sexy, edgy, noir aesthetic. The rhythmic, pulsing beat mixing well as you interview persons of interest and look for clues.
With the right headphones, you can easily find yourself into a meditative state whilst you ponder your next course of action.
As it is definitely not a fast-paced game, this will not appeal to those looking for more action. But for those who are driven by a potentially meaty story and love a good thriller, Ring of Fire has the potential to be a page-turner wrapped up in a narrative adventure.
With Ring of Fire listed on Steam as being available in early 2021, the demo gave a taste as to what is to come in the game. Ring of Fire is an intriguing, evocative murder mystery. With an interesting game mechanic, it adds a layer of interactivity that pushes your powers of deduction, and will hopefully develop into a full game which will truly test the super sleuths among us.
Follow Far Few Giant’s Twitter to keep up to date on their game.