Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: Xseed Games
Developer: Karin Entertainment
Before I write anything else about London Detective Mysteria, it’s important that you’re aware of what a Mary Sue character is. If you already know, you can skip the rest of this paragraph. And if you don’t, I’ll point you in the direction of this handy WIkipedia article so you can fill in the gaps of your knowledge.
Are we all on the same page now? Good, because that means I can say this: I haven’t read any fan fiction, but London Detective Mysteria is basically exactly what I imagine the genre to be, right down to the Mary Sue main character. You start off being told how beautiful and intelligent the main character is as she’s on her way to meet Queen Victoria, when you arrive you encounter Sherlock Holmes and Watson — sorry, their children, Herlock Holmes and, er, Watson (but William, not John) — and, as a mystery immediately presents itself, they insist that you have to help them because you’re so obviously smart, not to mention beautiful. From there, it’s not long until you encounter a bunch of other offspring of famous people both real (Jack the Ripper’s son wants to woo you!) and fictional (like the son of Lupin the Thief and the niece of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple — the latter despite the fact that the game takes place about 30 years before Marple herself shows up in Christie’s bibliography).
Despite the overwhelmingly fanfic-y nature of the whole thing, it’s hard to complain about it too much, for a couple of reasons.
First, London Detective Mysteria is an otome visual novel. When the entire genre is built around a group of guys trying to woo a young female main character, it’s inevitable that she ends up coming off as a little idealized. It obviously stands out much more when you have historical figures and well-established fictional characters — or, at least, their remarkably similar relatives — raving about the main character’s beauty and their intelligence, but given that the same is true of virtually every other game in the genre, I’m willing to give it a pass.
Secondly, and more importantly, London Detective Mysteria may be fan fiction, but at least it’s enjoyable. I’ve played enough otome games to know that more than a few of them stagger under the weight of their own ponderousness, and that’s not the case here. This game never forgets that it’s trying to be a mystery novel, so it keeps things moving along relatively briskly while also doling out its mysteries bit by bit — just enough to keep you invested in what’s going on, and interested in trying to solve what’s going on.
I mean, it’s not great literature or anything, so don’t go in expecting that. London Detective Mysteria is silly fan fiction where Sherlock Holmes and Queen Victoria and Miss Marple and Jack the Ripper (or at least their proxies) all interact and no one bats an eye. But sometimes, you don’t need to bat an eye, and you just need to go with it. If you’re a fan at all of visual novels, this is definitely one of the times to just go with it.
Xseed Games provided us with a London Detective Mysteria PS Vita code for review purposes.