Developer Xing dissolved many years ago after good but under-performing games like Hotel Dusk, Trace Memory, Another Code R, and The Last Window: Case West failed to gain popularity and profit for the small company. It's a shame too, since they were so good. Now, years later, most of the staff behind those games have come back for an introductory chapter to a new IP in Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~ Distant Memories.

Chase is about a detective named Nanase, who is a part of the Cold Case Unit. This unit takes on cases that were closed because they were left with dead ends, and the investigation couldn't formally be continued. As a result, the unit usually doesn't do much, as it takes an unusual amount abstract thinking to look into a case again to find a way to solve it. However, they finally get a case that they think they solve, so they get to work.

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The gameplay mostly consists of asking a list of people some questions about an explosion that happened five years prior in a hospital, which resulted in a fatality. Nanase and his assistant have reason to believe that the case might be a murder instead of an accident. If you make too many wrong choices, the game is over, although you'll just restart from that last segment. Aside from additional sequences where you'll look at a photo and point out inconsistencies, it's largely a kinetic visual novel.

The story is very good, but it is rather short. It takes about two hours to get through Chase: Cold Case. While it sets itself up as the first chapter in a series, given the dev team's constant commercial failures, I worry about this IP's future. The lack of voice acting also hurts, but at least the game uses Live2D to give the characters body language. But quite unlike the previous games that Xing released, they were published and put in stores at $30-40 price tags. This game will only set you back about $5, so hopefully it will entice people to give it a chance. I'd like to see more, as it's the start of something great.

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VERDICT:

The Good: The visuals use Live2D for more immersive animation.
The Bad: A lack of voice acting hurts the game a bit.
The Ugly: The game is so short it feels more like a pilot.

SUMMARY: Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~ Distant Memories is a short but interesting visual novel.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Alia Caroll and Aksys Games

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