I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for a mystery. From the classic “who done it” to secrets that edge on the spooky side, I can’t get enough. Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village on the Nintendo DS or the Cluedo boardgame. Even now, I can’t wait to get my hands on anything in the mystery detective genre; how can you resist when games like The Wolf Among Us exist? So, my dear Watson, I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Evidence 111!
Having been surrounded by mysteries and detectives in every medium, you’d think there’d be a point when uncovering the clues simply isn’t enjoyable anymore, but that’s not the case here! Evidence 111‘s whole premise hooked me in for it is an entirely audio-based mystery mobile game. This is, in my opinion, where it’d either flop or fly high. Fortunately, Play By Ears excellently pulled off the audio aspects and we’ll dive into why later on.
In Evidence 111, you play as Alice Wells (voiced by Zoë Robins), a police officer who receives an anonymous phone call where the caller alludes to a mistake Alice made on the job 10 years prior that only she and a witness really knew about. The mistake was that Alice was in a high-speed chase, which resulted in the person being pursued hitting a boy who then died. Alice paused thinking whether to help or catch the driver but then continued in pursuit of the criminal. The caller asks Alice to bring the case file, Evidence 111, to meet them at a hotel and hand over the file. Alice was essentially being blackmailed. Then at the hotel, a boy goes missing and Alice must find out what happened to him.
Firstly, the gameplay is very easy to get the hang of as the unique presentation and the story are by far the priority. The instructions are clearly narrated to you at the start of the playthrough where it is explained that you choose options on how Alice will react to the situation by holding the fingerprint and swiping to your chosen option. There are multiple endings based on how you act and what choices you make, so each one counts! The game length is quite short and sweet, clocking in at around two to three hours. However, as there are multiple endings, you can definitely replay it several times to see what happens if you act differently.
As mentioned, the audio is one of the aspects most highly prioritised, which makes sense given that it has to keep you hooked as there are no visuals! The fact that Evidence 111 is entirely audio-based is so unique, I personally haven’t encountered many titles like this and it also works effectively for a detective/mystery title. From the launch, there is a piece of horror-like music that instils an eerie and supernatural undertone that persists throughout the playthrough. It is utilised very effectively, so props to the team! And it’s not just sound that has to be executed flawlessly, but the voice acting. The voice cast is honestly incredible and you’ll see why. Evidence 111 features talent including Zoë Robins as mentioned, Rosamund Pike, Kenny Blyth, and Richard Reed, so hats off to them!
The use of sound and immersion is executed brilliantly. Evidence 111 encourages you to play with headphones on, and it’s quickly apparent why. When the sound effects like rain, police cars, storms and dogs barking play, they completely immerse you in the story and the setting. Plus, you feel like you’re actually there, especially with the clever use of sound and realism. Some scenes and conversations sound far away, close up or muffled, which feels authentic if you are eavesdropping on conversations that are happening in another room. Along the same lines, the sound travels from one ear to the other such as if a character is walking away or over to look at a clue. All of these aspects make it so easy to visualise the scene, therefore the audio format is incredibly effective.
Evidence 111 is fantastic at creating tense and desired atmospheres which are amplified by sounds and the fantastic music, again making you feel like you’re in the scene. It’s like VR but for your ears! I also particularly liked how the conversations felt realistic and natural as there were fillers and interruptions, so it almost felt like it was actually happening.
Moving away from the audio components and onto the story itself. Trying to find Hugo, the boy who went missing, sends you exploring the hotel and where he could be hiding. As noted, there are multiple endings based on the choices you make to solve the case, how you respond to physical situations, and how you act with other characters. Evidence 111 takes a couple of quite creepy turns especially when you go down to explore the cellar which seems to suggest there is someone or something supernatural down there. In my playthrough, I took Hugo’s mother, Mrs Keswille, to the cellar with me and she seems to be attacked by someone with the door separating us becoming locked. The tense music and sound effects made this section pretty chilling. Evidence 111 sets up the red herrings quite well, with these being influenced by other characters’ perceptions of them, things you overhear, and their suspicious behaviour.
My only criticism of Evidence 111 was that I wish there was a slightly more in-depth look at the ending, what happened to the other characters, and what the consequences were as it was a little bit rushed. That being said, that is my only gripe with Evidence 111. Overall, I found the audio format to work excellently, with a renowned and stellar voice cast, and a strong story with an emotional and different mystery at its core. Evidence 111 combined classic mystery tropes of characters hiding things with a captivating spin on the genre. I like how all of the characters were flawed in their own ways, but you could understand why they acted the way they did which made them feel realistic, relatable, and humanised. Plus, the multiple endings make Evidence 111 a replayable title, helped along by the short playthrough duration!
Holly reviewed Evidence 111 on Android mobile with a review key. Evidence 111 is also available on iphone.