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Slot Chinatown — Game Review

Slot Chinatown — Game Review

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Chinatown Detective Agency — Review Thread

Game Information

Game Title: Chinatown Detective Agency


  • Xbox One (Apr 7, 2022)
  • Nintendo Switch (Apr 7, 2022)
  • PC (Apr 7, 2022)


  • Chinatown Detective Agency: Reveal Trailer

Developer: General Interactive Co.

Publisher: Humble Games

Review Aggregator:

Critic Reviews

Chinatown Detective Agency poses an interesting premise for a point and click adventure but ultimately falls flat on the execution of its core ideas.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a title that anyone who loves taking on the role of a gumshoe in a futuristic, pixelated world will enjoy. With clues, ciphers, and other mysteries to solve, this title will make you use your brain and challenge you!

Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging point-and-click adventure with gorgeous art direction that falls just a bit short.

Though the occasional bug or out-of-place mechanic bogs down the experience, Chinatown Detective Agency delivers a fulfilling investigator fantasy with real-world sleuthing.

Chinatown Detective Agency does some interesting and noteworthy things with its take on the point-and-click adventure game, between its reliance on external tools and your own deductive research ability, some solid story and character work, and a strong commitment to encapsulating a country and culture that is unique to video games by default.

Chinatown Detective Agency is sometimes a little too clever for its own good, but it’s well written and charming with it. If you can overlook the issues with the save system, it’s well worth a look.

General Interactive deserve applause for their unique approach to detective work in adventure games, but the central mechanic in Chinatown Detective Agency feels like it deserves to be in a more substantial game.

If you’re in the mood for a cyber noir soaked old-school point and click, then no further. Chinatown Detective Agency does justice to the old school vibes it aspires to while also setting itself apart by having a fun and unique way to solve puzzles. It can get a bit overwhelming at times, especially as the clock starts ticking down, but the satisfaction of cracking a case is worth the extra stress.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a solid hardboiled detective adventure with a unique DIY approach to clue-solving-but it’s most impressive as a cultural artefact.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a stylish cyberpunk detective game with a wonderful cast, and it has a cool real-world aspect to puzzle solving. But it does feel a bit like doing homework sometimes.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a superbly told story with memorable characters and incredibly engaging gameplay. The unique noir-style take on Carmen Sandiego presents a strong, admirable protagonist that strives to be the hero even in the darkest of times, while provoking the question of what heroism really means. The game’s case-cracking gives the player a true feeling of accomplishment and justice-served, with the added bonus of learning about interesting new topics. The game’s greatness makes the fact it cannot be finished even more disappointing — without the large bugs, Chinatown would be a nearly flawless game. However, under the assumption the development team is able to make the necessary changes to the game, Chinatown Detective Agency has the potential to become a great modern point-and-click adventures.

Chinatown Detective Agency has amazing potential, and while it may not be 100% accessible to a wider audience, it challenges you in ways that other games do not.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a detective noir point and click adventure inspired by Carmen Sandiego. It involves real world sleuthing that will take you out of the world in order to solve puzzles. It has great art and character designs. It also has good voice acting during most major cutscenes.

Chinatown Detective Agency Review: A Neon-Dripped Global Adventure

Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging point-and-click adventure with gorgeous art direction that falls just a bit short.

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Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging point-and-click adventure with gorgeous art direction that falls just a bit short.

Chinatown Detective Agency is inspired by classic point-and-click adventure games like those in the 1980s Carmen San Diego franchise. This time, though, the setting is 2037 Singapore in a cyberpunk aesthetic. Following a young private investigator named Amira Darma as she takes cases from different clients, Chinatown Detective Agency unravels a sinister plot that will take her all across the world.

With a solid narrative, standout visuals, and challenging puzzles, Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging game that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Chinatown Detective Agency Review: A Neon-Dripped Global Adventure

Helped along by excellent voice acting, Chinatown Detective Agency focuses on a small cast of characters, choosing to (rightly) flesh them out instead of creating a sprawling cast that just fades into the background. Given that a Singapore studio developed Detective Agency, all of the voice actors sound native to the southeast Asia region, giving things an authentic feel.

The script and writing are superb as well. Amira herself is quite the sarcastic detective, and a few of her quips had me chuckling. She comes off as confident and smug but not obnoxious. Her clients and comrades are equally fun.

Tiger Lily, for example, is known for her rather promiscuous nature, and whenever she’s shamed about it or condescended to, she fires off sarcastic barbs of her own. Another standout is Mei Ling, the local librarian Amira calls on for help during investigations. She has an incredibly bubbly personality that contrasts with the world’s bleakness.

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The pixel art gives Chinatown Detective Agency that retro feel reminiscent of those aforementioned Carmen San Diego games, but the equally beautiful character portraits add a sense of realism that juxtaposes it nicely.

Let Me Google That for You

As for the gameplay, Amira solves a variety of puzzles and riddles to close out cases. These have you act as a detective and go on a real-world search engine to find the answers to questions posed in the game. For example, one case has a stone tablet with an ancient language on it. To decipher the message, I first had to research what the actual language was, and then translate it myself.

In another puzzle, I was given pictures of Egyptian gods, and I had to slot them into specific holes with the correct descriptions. There’s no encyclopedia or any other aid in Chinatown Detective Agency — you’ll have to use real-world resources to come up with answers.

Some of the puzzles can be very challenging but deciphering them and figuring them out is incredibly gratifying. Fortunately, if a particular puzzle is too hard, you can always call up Mei Ling and ask her to either give you a hint or just spill the answer outright (for an in-game fee).

Chinatown Detective Agency also uses money and time as mechanics. There is an in-game 24-hour clock and certain places within Singapore can only be accessed during specific times of the day, adding urgency and tension. For example, if a client needs to meet Amira at the bar between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., then you must wait until that designated time frame.

Luckily, you can fast-forward time whenever you want so it doesn’t impede the flow of the game. The game mentions that if Amira misses a client’s timeframe, money could be lost — or it could result in a game over. And though this seems to hint at side missions, I never found any. Implementing some here and there could have added to Detective Agency’s worldbuilding, winding up as a missed opportunity.

Every time Amira solves a case, a client makes a payment. She uses the money to book plane tickets to solve certain other cases, as well as ride the train around Singapore for others. Additionally, whenever the first of the month rolls around, Amira must pay rent.

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Further on, Amira can expand her office and hire new employees, though this aspect is woefully underutilized; you only get one other ally during the game. You’ll be so inundated with money at a certain point that paying things off never becomes an issue.

Catching the Bugs

Despite its many interesting qualities and mechanics, Chinatown Detective Agency is weighed down by its buggy performance. I came across a few game-breaking glitches during my review time. Towards the end of the game, an area wouldn’t load up and the screen was completely black. I could still click and move Amira around — indicated by her footsteps — but that was it.

The only way I was able to get around it was by receiving a different debug build of the game from the developer, which allowed me to skip that section entirely and move on to the next area.

There were also a few instances of the voice acting suddenly cutting off and sometimes the speech didn’t completely match up with the dialogue. Weirdly, sometimes characters would have trouble spawning into cutscenes or they would walk into a scene backward.

Chinatown Detective Agency — The Bottom Line

  • Great characters and writing.
  • Beautiful art direction.
  • Challenging and engaging puzzles.
  • Some underutilized mechanics.
  • Buggy performance and a noticeable number of glitches.

Chinatown Detective Agency is a unique game with a compelling story and fantastic art direction. Its scope is global, but the local Singapore setting feels authentic. The puzzles are just challenging enough so that they never feel unfair. Although, its buggy performance hampers the experience a bit.

What’s also impressive is that Chinatown Detective Agency is able to utilize the cyberpunk aesthetic so common in Asian-inspired settings without being culturally insensitive.

[Note: Humble Games provided the copy of Chinatown Detective Agency used for this review.]

Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging point-and-click adventure with gorgeous art direction that falls just a bit short.

Chinatown Detective Agency Review: A Neon-Dripped Global Adventure

Chinatown Detective Agency is an engaging point-and-click adventure with gorgeous art direction that falls just a bit short.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars DS Review


So how exactly does GTA IV fit on DS? I tried to put my copy in my DS, but damnit, the disc just doesn’t fit in the cart slot. There’s not even an option to snap it up and shove it in every available hole because, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t squash even half of it into the console. So how in the hell did Rockstar manage it?

In Chinatown Wars, you play Haung Lee, the son of an ex-triad boss (forced into an early retirement by the bullet in his head). For once, I can actually relate to the lead character of a GTA game, something made difficult previously because I’m not a criminal. But Haung and I have something in common, because he knows how brutal it can be to fly into America. When he arrives to visit his uncle, he is attacked by mobsters and dumped in a river (those of you who have been through US Customs will be familiar with the feeling). Needless to say, Haung survives and much crime ensues.

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One of the most significant qualities of Chinatown Wars is that it’s so like the original GTA in feel. Instead of being a hardcore crime-‘em-up, it’s far more arcade-y in all aspects. For example, when being chased by the police you must take out a certain number of police vehicles to lower your wanted rating by a star. It is a far more challenging and rewarding way to get rid of unwanted attention than simply escaping and hiding, which more often than not, results in being discovered by accident and the whole chase starting up again.


Chinatown Wars is one of the few DS games that is able to incorporate the touch screen effectively. Aside from obvious uses, such as displaying the GPS and other info, it is also called into action for various mini-games required during play. Through the magic of the touch screen, you can hotwire cars, make your own molotovs and even tattoo new recruits to the gang. Rockstar really have made full use of the DS. As well as being well spaced out, the mini-games are also varied. You won’t always be hotwiring a car in the same way, so you’ll have to be on your toes to get it right, or risk the consequences.

Chinatown Wars won’t always have you wiping your thumbs around the screen though. As always, there’s a range of missions to complete. A common criticism of GTA games is that the story missions get repetitive in nature, and unfortunately the same can be said of CW. Most missions comprise of ‘Drive from A to B. Kill people at B. Drive back’. It’s slightly disheartening to see that little effort has been made to try and shake it up a bit. There are, however, plenty of side missions to go at too. As well as the usual paramedic, police or fire service tasks, you can also take the opportunity to deal some drugs. Take care of buying/selling, and keep an eye on supply/demand to make a bit of extra money on the side. It’s risky business though, the police are watching the hotspots and could bust you after a deal, triggering a difficult escape with a high wanted level. Admittedly, when this first happened to me I didn’t help my cause by killing a few cops before driving away. I probably could’ve done without expanding the list of felonies from drug dealing to murder and grand theft auto, but it’s all part of the fun. As anyone who has played GTA will know, it can all escalate very quickly. You panic. Then, before you know it, there’re SWAT teams and helicopters trying to bring you down, just for buying $10 worth of drugs.

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Considering the recent outbreaks of crime sprees in Liberty City, it’s a wonder people keep going there. Personally, after having my car stolen for the third time in a week I’d just give up and move. Despite this, it is a fantastic place for gamers to explore. There’s a large variety of vehicles, including motorbikes and boats, and a simple driving system to help keep you going straight. And with the size of the city, you definitely will need to make a few car journeys to see it all. In fact, almost the entirety of the Liberty City found in GTA IV has been recreated on the DS. The only time I’ve noticed the DS struggling is while hurtling down the streets, sometimes there are grey patches instead of landscape, but then they quickly load before you get too close. Not bad for such a small machine.

Combat is rather basic, as it always was in GTA. No need to faff around with aiming, just lock on and fire. It keeps the interface as uncluttered as possible while still allowing effective and satisfying use of the weapons. One of the only things to feel disappointed about is the soundtrack. In contrast to the lengthy and numerous radio shows we’ve become used to, Chinatown Wars has only about 4 radio stations which repeat themselves after about 10 minutes. The sound quality all round is quite poor actually, everything sounds like you’re hearing it through a tin of beans.


Something I’ve always been fond of is a bit of cel-shading, provided the game suits this style, and GTA certainly does suit it well. The almost comic-book feel goes hand in hand with the recognisable GTA-style art and the tongue-in-cheek humour. Not only is the place huge, but it’s also densely populated. There’re always people about and vehicles on the road. For Rockstar to have gone as far as incorporating a daylight and weather cycle into the huge city, and make it all work on the DS, is incredible. I remember chuckling to myself when I noticed that pedestrians even pull out umbrellas when it rains. They get in taxis. They even sometimes run each-other over, then get out to assess the damage (leaving their cars prime for stealing).

Every little touch like this just shows why Rockstar is so respected by gamers and developers alike. It’s what separates an average game from a great game. No-one else but Rockstar could’ve made Chinatown Wars what it is, because no one else has that kind of commitment and finesse to pull it off. It’s been a while since such a must-have game has come to the DS.

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