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Get engrossed in British detective drama

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.6
Size: 173.9 MB
Platform: iPhone / iPad
Developer: Electric Noir Studios

Dead Man’s Phone

As those of us who have rinsed Netflix’s basement of crime dramas will know, the Brits have something locked down when it comes to murder investigations. And for those that are now looking to satisfy their investigative sweet tooth, you can now play the much-lauded Dead Man’s Phone, where you take the position of detective inspector on a fresh murder investigation after a young boy falls from a rooftop in Peckham, South London.

Dead Man’s Phone is the latest addition to the ‘found phone’ genre

You start the game after the police come into possession of the phone of the young boy, Jerome. It’s loaded onto your own police device, from which you can switch over to your own OS to speak to your superiors and other departments, like forensics. From here you advise and guide these individuals on how to investigate the case while simultaneously scouring the contents of the boy’s device, looking for clues in his chat and social media apps.

Interact with colleagues to help drive the investigation

As with most games of this ilk, you’re guided through the game in real time, though there are options to skip ahead for those that are inpatient or only have specific times they can sit down and play.

Dead Man’s Phone is far more immersive than other similar titles and we think that’s largely down to its well-drawn characters and the gradual and well-paced introduction of other characters – such as Jerome’s mother, who you will need to speak with. There’s also the dense and quite honestly, frequently baffling colloquial lexicon of the boy and his friends. Naturally, there’s plenty of bad language – you just might not always know that you’ve read it.

You have the opportunity to read and influence news stories

Its own self-styled comparisons to the worlds of TV dramas and true crime podcasts also really do ring true – the characters you meet and get to know through the device and subsequent contact with them paints a rich portrait of this area of Britain’s capital and the situations and scenarios young boys that live there can get caught up in.

Search the victims phone for clues

Despite this game’s free download, what you get is rich – there’s an ensemble cast of real actors and the voice work is exemplary. The design is also good, though it doesn’t feel like a familiar device, feeling more Android than iOS, and some of the fake-name-but-based-on-real-apps takes the realism away a little. Still, from the news stories based on the BBC apps to the voice notes from ‘Chatsapp’ that may just be a pocket recording, the attention to detail is strong.

Find clues and guide others to analyse information

Though this game currently houses just ‘season 1’, the suggestion is the BAFTA-nominated, London-based studio will continue the story in the future, hoping to explore community dynamics alongside the straight crime investigations. If true to their word, we could have a true game/TV crossover.

Dead Man's Phone - engaging British detective drama
Incredibly nuanced and well-delivered drama.
For
  • Solid realism
  • Well-paced TV-style drama
  • Wide, ensemble acting cast
Against
  • Design could feel a little more realistic
4.5Overall Score