The Last Case of Benedict Fox review
Gameffine presents The Last Case of Benedict Fox review. Descend into a limbo of decaying memories as Benedict Fox, a self-proclaimed detective bound to his demon companion.
Product Brand: Plot Twist
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $24.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
No more than 3 months since we last saw a Lovecraftian game hit Steam, Cthulu is back on the menu. This time, however, Lovecraftian ‘inspirations’ are shaping a Metroidvania of all things. The Last Case of Benedict Fox, one of my personal highlights of last Steam Next Fest, is out now and is in desperate need of a review. And as usual, we’ve got you covered. Presenting our The Last Case of Benedict Fox review.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a 2.5D Metroidvania developed by Plot Twist and published by Rogue Games. It’s now available to purchase on PC and Xbox Series XIS. This review is based on the PC version.
As per the title, you put on the curious shoes of one Benedict Fox, a self-proclaimed detective. But unlike your standard trench-coat and Fedora wearing noir dick, Benedict has something special up his sleeve. He’s bound to The Companion, an eldritch entity not unlike the Darkness from, well…the Darkness. Two for the price of one! Using his supernatural abilities, Benedict can tap into the memories of the long-dead The whole game revolves around Benedict exploring the memories of his deceased father and his wife who shares the same fate to solve, you guessed it – a mystery!
While this all sounds interesting, the game sets up the premise very half-assed. The opening cutscene doesn’t do any favors, and you’re suddenly thrown into the action. The game expects you to be familiar with who Benedict is and what he’s up to. At this point, I genuinely looked up the name Benedict, thinking the game was based on an existing IP. But, nope. Thankfully, the story opens up after a while, and it legit gets interesting as you progress more and more. Aside from the lackluster intro, the game manages to maintain enough mystery and intrigue all the way to the end.
A for Art
If there’s one thing, The Last Case of Benedict Fox does unarguable great, it’s the art design. The 2.5D Metroidvania looks stunning whether you’re playing it on a handheld like the Steam Deck or a bigass 4k TV. The colorful environments are choke full of detail and give away snippets of environmental storytelling by combining generic level templates with personalized elements. It truly feels like you’re exploring the dark and twisted minds of troubled individuals. From swamps littered with fleshy goo to icy hallways and dark corridors, The Last Case of Benedict Fox scores an A for its art design.
The same can’t be said for the sound design, however. Aside from Craig Hustler, who voices The Companion, everyone else puts in a wooden performance. Sub-par voice acting is the least of the problem. Sound mixing is the biggest culprit here, causing muted combat sounds and inconsistent sound quality throughout the game. Music, on the other hand, is pretty good and fits the early-Jazz thing they have going on.
The Fall of Benedict Fox
Unfortunately, The Last Case of Benedict Fox drops the proverbial ball hard when it comes to the gameplay. Movement and controls make or break a Metroidvania and Benedict Fox does not feel good to control. The running animations feel too sped up and actions like jumping feels very stiff. Not to mention that your double/triple jumps are not free-form, but are limited by an anchoring point. You’ll spend a lot of time repeating platforming sections due to the controls not feeling responsive. Moreover, the game lacks something as basic as a general sense of direction. I don’t expect Metroidvania’s to hold my hand, but the objectives of The Last Case of Benedict Fox are too obtuse and ‘out there’. Do yourself a favor and turn on the exploration accessibility option if you want to get anything done. The only time I managed to make significant progress in the game was due to blind luck and random exploration.
Then there’s the combat, which is utterly basic and painfully underwhelming. Benedict can fight enemies using his Bayonet, a limited-ammo flare gun and The Companion’s abilities. There is also an upgrade system present for weapons and eldritch abilities that require you to explore and find specific items. Yet, despite all the options available, the combat comes across as an unsatisfying experience largely due to bad sound mixing, lackluster hit feedback and its inherent repetitive nature.
Not everything is bad. The puzzles, of which are many, are of very good quality. Most of them involve solving comprehension and logic puzzles using a conundrum machine. There are also some pretty difficult puzzles, like the one involving a piano. But, if you find the puzzles too difficult, you can basically skip them altogether with the help of accessibility options.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox bolster a stunning art direction, interesting puzzles and an engaging story. However, that’s just not enough to make it a worthwhile purchase. Clunky gameplay, unsatisfying combat and a general sense of aimlessness drags down the whole experience. The developers are said to be working on a patch that adds control remapping, performance improvement and puzzle difficulty rebalancing. But it’s a pass for now.
FINAL RATING: 63/100