Title Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories
Developer Arc SystemWorks
Publisher Aksys Games
Release Date October 13, 2016
Genre Visual Novel
Platform Nintendo 3DS
Age Rating Teen
Official Website

Back in 2007, a lovely game with the title Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was released for the Nintendo DS. It was an emotional and mysterious adventure game with a very distinct art style. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to play its sequel Last Window, due to it never being released in the United States. Some time after the release of Last Window the developer Cing unfortunately closed its doors. Now a few years later, we have Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~, a new game from some key Cing staff, sporting a similar style to the games that came before it while working with a new setting and cast. Does this new title manage to live up to the past efforts developed by Cing, or is it just a disappointment?

As soon as I started, the introduction cutscene immediately set a dramatic mood with some chilling music playing while introducing us to the main characters of the story, as well as showing some brief animations of the events we’ll be investigating. The music and art style for the game immediately reminded me of past works like Hotel Dusk, and only made me more excited to play. The art may lack the water color look and animation of Hotel Dusk, but the anime style and character designs are immediately recognizable and initially drew me to the game. The character portraits look great but don’t animate very often. The music is also excellent but there are only a few tracks. What is here is very catchy, all mellow tunes with lots of piano and bass. If you’ve ever played Hotel Dusk, or any game developed by Cing, you will likely feel right at home with both the art and music in Chase. I certainly found them to be the more memorable aspects of the game.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations | Shounosuke Nanase

After the intro montage, we are introduced to the two main detectives, Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekura. These two work on solving investigations that have gone cold over the years. One day while bored on the job, our two detectives receive a phone call regarding a case involving a death in an explosion at a hospital 5 years prior to the story which may not have been an accident like it was originally said to be. Intrigued, Nanase and Amekura decide to gather all the information they have on the case and attempt to determine if this explosion really was an mishap. Throughout Chase, you’ll be reading a lot of evidence and reports on the case, investigating crime scene photos, as well as interrogating witnesses and possible suspects in order to learn the truth about what happened during this event.

When investigating crime scene photos, you’re presented with a still picture on the bottom screen that you can interact with by tapping on specific spots of the picture. Most of the time when you’re presented with this, it’s a matter of either examining everything you can for clues or checking a specific spot to progress forward. There is one instance near the end where you only have one chance to select where Nanase wants you to point to and if you get it wrong, its game over. Thankfully, you can save at any point so it’s really not that big of a deal.  While these sequences do provide a bit of interactivity in the story and are interesting to investigate, they are very brief and not used often.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations | Interrogation

Throughout the story you’ll also be given many different dialogue choices during key moments where Nanase and Amekura are either compiling evidence or interrogating suspects. During each of these segments you are given a set number of chances to pick the right options or questions to ask during your investigations. As long as you’ve been paying attention to the story, you’ll likely find these segments very easy but despite that, it was pretty fun interrogating possible suspects and learning more details about what really happened during the incident five years ago, and just how interconnected everything is.

The overall story, while interesting, failed to make any kind of impact with me. Due to the games extremely short length, the characters never really had any chance to develop, which unfortunately felt like a huge missed opportunity. There is one instance where some hints about something unrelated to the investigation is troubling Nanase, but it’s never explored outside two very brief moments. The story is definitely enjoyable at times but just as it starts to get going, Chase unfortunately ends with a very unsatisfying cliffhanger ending that sets up a possible future sequel.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations | One of the suspects
Throughout the story you’ll interrogate several key witnesses and suspects.

Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ is not a bad game by any means but there just isn’t much to it. Unfortunately the journey lasts less than an hour and a half, which doesn’t give it enough time to develop to a point where you’ll really care about the characters and events. At only $5.99 on the Nintendo eShop it’s certainly not bad, but I also feel you can get much better for only a few dollars more. If you’re a fan of Cing’s previous works like I am, I’d say give it a shot. I just hope we manage to get a sequel of some sort in the future that can develop what is here even further!

Review Score

Review copy provided by the publisher

Ashley Ring
Ashley is an IT professional who has a passion for Japanese RPG's and survival horror.