Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime – Review
Follow Genre: Point-and-click adventure
Developer: Made in Mavis
Publisher: Publishing and Cooking
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime – Review

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Good: Fun story, Great art
Bad: Short and Simple
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

You always have to start small when you want to make your name in the game industry as an indie developer. Most indie developers look towards pixel or text-heavy games because they are easier to make than big action-adventure games. The newly introduced Spanish studio Made in Mavis did just that and delivered a detective story to jumpstart their career.


The story of Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime follows private investigator Abby Marlon and her assistant Jared while they investigate their first murder case. After helping old ladies find their jewelry and tracking down lost pets, the detective duo gets excited when they get a letter in the mail asking for their help with solving the murder of Mister Taylor. It’s a mysterious murder where most of his children suspect their sister Eleanor and they need you to track her down. All this plays out while you also learn more about the main character and her mysterious past.

Playing Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime feels like playing through an Agatha Christie novel. The game is only an hour or two long and will have you revisit the same few locations and talk to the same characters, but none of this is a problem thanks to the fact that you always feel that the story is progressing, and the characters are also unique and quite memorable.

The only bummer about the story is the fact that it sometimes feels like a part of a bigger franchise. In the game, they often refer to previous cases in a way that makes it feel like these were the events of a previous game. They also introduce characters and events in Abby’s backstory, while not fleshing out these events or characters. In a way, it feels like the developer is setting up later games or simply didn’t have enough resources to make this into a meatier experience.


While the game is made by a smaller team of developers, it is impressive what they were able to deliver. The game looks really smooth and has a lot of appeal. Most of the backgrounds depict a specific location, and while these aren’t always spectacular-looking, it all works together to create a cohesive atmosphere. The character portraits on the other hand are beautiful. All of the designs fit the characters perfectly and they are professionally designed, as if they come straight out of a comic book.


While you are exploring the dark secrets of the Taylor family you will be doing so with a jazzy soundtrack in the background that fits the atmosphere. It sounds a lot like something you would find in a Professor Layton game, which is a big compliment. The lack of voice acting is understandable due to the smaller budget, and thus the addition of giving all characters a unique sound when they talk is a great alternative in this case. However, this makes them sound like the villagers from Animal Crossing, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.


Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime is a point-and-click adventure game best described as an Ace Attorney game without the court sections. You’ll go around multiple locations, talking to people, and putting together clues to progress the story and apprehend the killer.

The first thing you’ll do when encountering a new location is talking to the characters. All of these conversations are pretty straightforward and include some choices that won’t alter the story, as they are just there to give you more information. When you aren’t in a conversation, each location can be explored by clicking on specific parts of the background. Most of them will give you a line of dialogue about what you clicked on, but sometimes you’ll get items to progress the story. These items aren’t hard to find thanks to the sparkles surrounding them.

All of these hints and items are collected in your bag where you can inspect them and send them to the board. This is where Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime introduces a pretty original gameplay mechanic, with its detective board. All clues you collect can be sent here to link together. This is done with the classic red yarn seen in many shows and movies. This is the most challenging part of the game, since all your clues will end up here, and you can only progress the investigation once the right ones are connected.

While this is the most challenging part of the game, it isn’t that challenging. All of the clues only need one connection, making it seem as if the developers didn’t utilize the full potential of their board mechanic. Likewise, it’s never too hard to figure out where to go or what items to find. And even if you’re stuck, you can ask your assistant for a hint as to where to go. This is where the short length works in the game’s favor, as the story moves forward fast enough so none of the gameplay mechanics get boring.


Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime delivers a fun detective adventure with a great atmosphere. The short length, hints to what is to come, and the potential of the gameplay mechanics may leave you wanting for more. Hopefully, this is the first installment in a great future franchise.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Marlon’s Mystery: The Darkside of Crime - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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