I was so excited to get my copy of Insecticide DS that I waited a whole day after getting it to start playing so I'd have time to take it all in. How could you not get excited about a cool, film noir-ish game about bugs?! Yes, bugs. The idea was awesome: In a postapocalyptic world, bugs are the dominant species. Thankfully, they evolved to set up a society much like our own with law, order, and, of course, crime.
You play as detective Chrys Liszt, trying to solve a murder at the Nectarola (ie: soda) plant in the capital city of Troi. The game takes on two different types of game play: adventure, where you are out in the field chasing down suspects, and then put in your time solving puzzles during your investigation work. By the sounds of things, I would have been more than content getting some action firing my bug weapons, but still using my bug brain by putting the pieces of the crime together. Unfortunately, this is not how things went down. Dun-Dun-DUN . . . To see what I mean, read more.
Insecticide had me from day one with the look and sounds of the game. I was imagining smooth action scenes and intense interrogations while solving the murder. But what I got was some really rough fighting sequences that had me frustrated from the get go, and even more frustration with the puzzles.
While closing in on a suspect, Chrys is supposed to chase him around the rooftops of the city, using her many weapons. However, Chrys can't seem to fire her weapons quickly enough, and certainly can't turn around very fast to see what the heck is shooting her from behind. But seeing is a different story. Remember, the game has a dark film noir feel to it, and dark it is. Literally.
Besides the action scenes being a bit rough, I thought Insecticide would be redeemed through its adventure puzzle scenes. But still, I was left less than satisfied by its confusing layout. At times, you are left to guess what you need to do next, and with little hints, I was struggling with one puzzle for way longer than I had hoped, which left me frustrated and ready to toss the game aside. Although, it's during the investigations that you get to interact with other characters in the game, which is pretty fun.
I can't totally knock Insecticide, though. Since I really love the concept, as well as the jazzy, sort of sci-fi vibe it had going on, it just didn't hold up to my expectations. However, I'm sure the PC version would have been a ton better with a higher resolution screen and more control with the keyboard and mouse. I would probably recommend renting, but not buying the DS version, and it's likely that the PC version would be the better choice overall. Insecticide for the DS is out now.