By: Tony Pisculli
Dashiell Hamlet is Shakespeare meets film noir. It’s a linear story with a single ending, where the choices allow the player to unravel the narrative at their own pace.
The tone throughout is true to the genre, almost reminiscent of the writing of Raymond Chandler, while also having fun with tropes in a way that does not feel forced. Lines such as, “You take your eggs hard-boiled. You drink your coffee noir,” successfully utilize the tone of film noir while balancing the overly serious nature of the genre with the quirky nature of the story. Fun easter eggs for those who are fans of film noir can be found throughout the piece as subtle nods to the stories that were most famous in the genre. Other small elements like, “Take a dramatic pause,” made this story all the more enjoyable.
As mentioned in the game description, this is a story on rails. Each scene acts as a hub where the player can choose between three to five different actions that will lead to other smaller scenes. Once all options have been exhausted, or the correct path had been found, the story moves to the next “hub” scene and the pattern repeats only to break with the ending. By providing readers with choices in this way they are they partake in uncovering the story- true to being a detective. Clicking a link is like turning over stones to see what lies beneath and sometimes you find a gem. While the player does not have to do this they would miss some witty proses. Doing this does not quite create the illusion of choice, but comes close. The author managed to maintain interactivity by upping the number of choices given without creating fluff- even though these decisions have no bearing on the outcome of the game.
If you are looking for a short, quirky story and are a fan of film noir then you will enjoy this. But if you are looking to have more choice and see a brand new story then I suggest moving on. Overall, I enjoyed this piece its presentation was clean, the narrative was engaging and the apparent choices helped to strengthen the story.