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Detective Di: the Silk Rose Murders Review

Detective Di: the Silk Rose Murders Review

Detective Di: the Silk Rose Murders Review

Step back into the Tang Dynasty and put your detective skills to work in this murder mystery adventure from Nupixo

Category: Reviews
Written by: Cindy Kyser on May 14, 2019
Developed by: Nupixo Games
Published by: Nupixo Games, WhisperGames
Release Date: May 1, 2019
Genre: Narrative Point-and-Click Mystery
Platform: Windows, Mac OS/X

Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders opens in Penglai China during the Tang Dynasty. Although it is a work of fiction, it is based on historical events and characters. For those who are a bit fuzzy on their Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty that spanned the 7th to 10th century. According to Wikipedia, “Historians generally regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.” They also report that the dynasty was briefly interrupted by Empress Wu Zetian who seized the throne around 690 and became the only Chinese empress to rule in her own right.

The game protagonist, Detective Di Renjie, is based on a real historical figure whose story has also been fictionalized in the Chinese television series The Amazing Detective Di Renjie which aired between 2004 and 2010.

Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders begins when the detective is summoned by the Foreign Minister to investigate the murder of a Korean Ambassador. Di Renjie has been recently appointed as the Investigating Magistrate of Penglai and he arrives to examine the crime scene while treading lightly due to Imperial politics and intrigue.

After solving the Ambassador’s murder, Di Renjie is promoted and then summoned to the Imperial Palace by the Empress (who has taken charge since the death of her husband). A woman has been murdered and her father jailed for the crime. The Empress wants the case reopened as it appears to have been mishandled by De Renjie’s predecessor. Additional murders occur, each with a similar M.O. and a silk rose at the crime scene. The remainder of the game focuses on our detective working the “Silk Rose Murders.”

Written, developed and designed by Minh Ta, the game is presented as a classic point-and-click adventure with pixelated graphics. Dialog is initiated with a “speak” icon and then clicked through as text, without voiceovers. Subjects that have been already covered in prior conversations are still available for repeat but are shaded to indicate that no new information is available. I should note that this game is very dialog-heavy. In other words, there is a lot to read as each character’s backstory is revealed in addition to conversations directly related to the murders. The absence of voice acting allows the player to appreciate the sound track which includes original music by Andrea Giachini.

Detective Di is divided into a Prologue and 3 Chapters, with each segment focused on a specific investigation. Clues are gathered and interpreted. A “Deduction Board” is updated as salient facts become part of the case solution. When a case is solved, you are asked to recap the events of the crime and how it was committed.

Puzzles include some logic puzzles, mechanical challenges, and find-and-use inventory pairings. Inventory is accessed by moving the cursor to the top of the screen and icons are available to “inspect” or “use.” I found it a bit awkward as inventory items cannot just be dragged and dropped. Instead, you must first click the “use” icon before they can be manipulated.

Navigation is accomplished by clicking to move the detective across the screen or clicking on an “exit” icon to move to the next scene. A map is provided to speed travel between locations, and new areas become available depending on the activities that you have completed. The availability of new locations or the ability to leave an existing location are tightly linked to specific actions. This can be a bit frustrating. One of my longer periods of being ‘stuck’ resulted from the fact that I had not used the “inspect” icon on a specific object in my inventory. I had the item, had completed all conversations, and had clicked on all local hot spots. However, the game’s structure would not let me proceed until I had done the required “inspect.”

All-in-all, Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders is an interesting and challenging mystery. With multiple crimes to tie together and solve, Di Renjie covers a lot of ground and interacts with numerous characters. At the same time, the political landscape of the day is a veritable mine field that he must navigate carefully. I spent around 7 hours accompanying Detective Di and the game held my interest until the end.

Grade B+

+ Interesting and complex story that ties to historical events
+ Detective activities are nicely tracked and summarized with the Deduction Board
+ Diversity of puzzles with solutions supported by available clues
+ Explicit save system provided with multiple save slots
Game requires a lot of reading which may be excessive for some adventurers
Strict game structure limits exploration unless specific actions have been performed
Interface is a bit awkward with one click to access functions (inspect, use, speak) and then a second click to execute


System Requirements
MINIMUM Windows:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 or later
Processor: 2.0 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: DirectX compatible card
Storage: 500 MB available space
Sound Card: All DirectX-compatible sound cards


OS: OS X 10.9 or later
Processor: 2.0 GHz
Memory: 128 MB RAM
Graphics: DirectX compatible card
Storage: 500 MB available space
Sound Card: All DirectX-compatible sound cards

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

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