Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love and Order

Author: ? (Seriously, why is it so hard to find credits for these things? If this were my game, I'd want my name all over it!)
Availability: Demo/$19.99 Full Version, Download
Format: Management Sim / Dating Sim
Genre: Mystery / Workplace Romance
Rating: Teen
My Scores: (Writing: 4, Art: 4.9, Gameplay: 4) out of 5

Found at http://www.otomegames.com or http://www.winterwolves.com/


In Love and Order, you are Dana Larose, a young woman who just started work as a secretary for the understaffed Crown Attorney's office in a small district in Montreal. In addition to your demanding job and cute coworkers, there's a very mysterious case file that draws your attention.



Right away, I found things to love in this game. It's set in Canada, which is a nice and original change from the usual settings (see other reviews for more ranting on the subject), and enough flavor is given that this actually seems like "Canada" and not "Japan with a name-change". So hooray for that! Also, I liked the little rip-off of the "Law & Order" intro. It was silly, but I liked it.

The game proper made me feel like I was actually in an attorney's office. Granted, I know very little about law and how law offices actually work, so take that assessment with a grain of salt. Still, it was more than enough for my Suspension of Disbelief to work with. What's more, I found it hilarious and, in a way, realistic how the cases your office was handling weren't glamorous cases like "The People vs. Bob 'The Decapitator' McKiller" or "The People vs. Bob McWronglyAccusedForMurderButNobodyBelievesHimNotEvenHisMother". Instead, your office handles cases like "Man accused of harassing chickens." Ladies and gentlemen, the legal system at work.


The art here is very good and well drawn, though maybe the border lines around two of the boys' hair could use a little cleaning up. The "Change location" screen contains a map that's justified in-game, which I thought was a very nice touch. Also, you can change outfits, which is somewhere between nice and pointless.


Having only played the demo, I'm reluctant to give an official score on the gameplay, but what I've seen so far impresses me. You can request assignments, and sometimes opportunities for new assignments will be given to you. Doing more tasks means getting more money, but it also means more stress which can mean screwing up and failing the task altogether. It's very well balanced, I think.

The one thing that concerns me is the replay value. From what I can tell, the mystery seems pretty straight forward and linear, which means once that's solved, it probably won't need to be solved again. As for the love angle, there are four suitors, and their paths also seem pretty linear. I don't know how many endings are possible, but from here, the possibilities look fairly small. This wouldn't be a problem if the game were freeware, but since it's a commercial game, this is a very serious point to consider: Is a game you only play 4-6 times worth spending $20 on? For some people, the answer might be "Sure, why not?", but for people more like myself, a game has to be something more than just a fleeting experience in order to make me part with my hard-earned money. With Love and Order, I don't know if it can do that for me.


Love and Order is interesting and very well put together. It's one of the better games I've played, and I can completely understand and agree with the authors deciding to make money off of it. It's a high-quality game. What I don't know is if the apparently limited replay value is worth the price they're asking. Of course, it might just be that I'm cheap.

As usual, this is all my own opinion; you might think this game is worth a thousand dollars, or you might feel it needs to be burned and its creators fed to wolverines. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section, free of charge. ;)