Crime zoom: his last card (2020) review
The game we are going to talk about today is part of directly in line with the games that are currently very popular. Small priced, small boxes that offer an investigation or challenges to be solved in a limited time. Do you know what I'm talking about? Yes that's right, all those games derived from Unlock! and Escape Games in general. Since the (deserved) success of this style of games, each publisher tries to release THEIR success and its series of works which will deviate from the beaten track and impose themselves in the circles of gamers. Among the whole wave of more or less successful Escape Game lookalikes, a new genre has emerged: minimalist investigation games. Minimalist because it is a complete set condensed in a small box with small components. Crime Zoom in which we are going to talk about here, is a perfect example.
In view of the zero replayability of the title and in the concern of not spoiling the game for you, this review will be a little special because in the images and in the text we have posted there is nothing that will reveal anything at all of all the content or the progress of the game's plot. In terms of images, we have chosen famous investigators. It's like that, it's a gift (will you be able to find them all?).
Crime Zoom: The latest investigation card game from Stéphane Anquetil is being published by the small French company Aurora Games. And the game is brought to life with the illustrations of Cetteilart, Julien Long and Christopher Matt.
In the box, you’ll find 55 cards and the rules of the game. Yes that's it. Minimalistic says it all. The challenge is the size: to come up with an interesting investigation with very little materials. Note that already 15 of these cards will be used to illustrate the crime scene. Mission accomplished ?
For the record ... You play as an American investigative team in the 80’s. One evening, you are called to go to the scene of a crime which took place in a small apartment in Brooklyn. For once, you are early, and you arrive before everyone else. The door is locked from the inside. Once you enter, the entire crime scene is in front of you. The body is still there and nothing has been moved. This scene, represented by a series of cards placed end to end to form a large illustration, is the start of your investigation. Now it's up to you to investigate ... to play.
Crime Zoom is above all an investigation / deduction game. No tests, no calculations, no puzzles are on the program. Here, deduction, attention to detail, logic and intuition will be required. Each crime scene card is double-sided. Behind the original illustration is information, potential leads or just zoom-ins on elements of the scenery that you have spotted or not. The detailed illustrations contribute to the general atmosphere of the game. Nothing is left to chance.
Crime Zoom is purely cooperative (although an optional variation exists to turn it into competitive). Your group should complete the survey together. Your mission ? Find the murderer (necessarily) but not only that ... you will also need the motive, the murder weapon and maybe the place where the murderer is to be able to stop him. But beware, here unlike other games of the same genre, it is important to remember everything. No guesswork, you will need the exact locations and number of the cards that led you to your answers. A good investigator must be precise in their answers. It would be a shame to blame the wrong person, right?
In Crime Zoom, there is no real game turn. You are free to talk among yourselves (it is even extremely recommended) and to decide collectively which card or which road to follow. Once the collegial decision is made, a player turns over the chosen card and reads aloud what is indicated. Sometimes you will have test results, sometimes there are leads to follow, sometimes nothing and sometimes false indications to waste your time. The end of the game comes when you are ready to deliver your verdict. So you can finish the game whenever you want. But be careful in the submission of the final questions which will determine your level in the investigative powers. This level is a means of scoring which will be done according to your answers and your speed in which you solve the mystery. You will earn stars that will give you a ranking. But I might as well tell you right away, the game being a one shot, it would be a shame not to savor it by rushing just to "win". Because in the end the salt of the game is the plot and its resolution and not whether you have two or twelve stars (I don't know if that's possible). You would lose a lot and miss not only the story but essentially the game.
The game plays roughly for one hour (a little less for us). The rules are short and read very quickly. Once started in the game, there is no need to double check the rules. The immersion is total. Everything is indicated on the cards, no mistakes, typos or errors. No interpretation of the rules. Everything is clear and limpid. On this, the game really plunges you into the investigation and gets to the point. It is very pleasant and enhances the pleasure of the game.
Crime Zoom is not a game that will make a difference in the world of gameplay. As you have seen, it's very simple and not necessarily original. But. Where the game draws its strength is in the investigation and its ability to immerse you in a plot with so little material and in such a short time.
The strength of Crime Zoom lies in its writing and well-constructed script. The investigation is well put together, the clues are logical and everything is well done. It will sometimes make you think of the master of the genre: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective less "successful" and faster, nec
I admit that I was very skeptical about the game, expecting yet another “narrative” card game. But very quickly, we were caught in the plot and in the simplicity of the gameplay which leaves a lot of room for pleasure and immersion. Even if it can be played from 1 to 6 players, in my opinion it is really good for two. In addition, the concern for the readability of the whole may arise. Solo, it is fully playable, even if you inevitably lose the multiple opinion’s voiced by the other players.
Crime Zoom is a game you can enjoy. Do not hesitate to study, look carefully at each card to best resolve the investigation. Sometimes it will take you to other locations, represented by other cards. Places that will also have to be looked at carefully because the clues are sometimes in the details of the illustrations. Once again, these integrate perfectly and provide a significant plus. Hurrying too much will make you miss out on a very enjoyable fun experience. Finally, it’s just that. Crime Zoom: His Last Card is consumed as any good thriller or a good investigative film. The kind of work that gives you the flexibility to follow the investigation and allow you to have your suspicions throughout the story just upto the resolution, maybe with unexpected twists or its final real reveal.
But this first test, despite its many qualities, is not quite perfect. As much to say it right away, these defects are in no way crippling to the game.
The first is inherent in this type of game. It's the one-shot side. Some may criticize and find fault with the mechanical choice. It is true that once resolved, there is no reason to go back to it. But like a good thriller, the game allows you to experience a unique investigation. A playful pleasure enhanced by a low price tag. At this price, you will be immersed in a well-crafted police investigation. And above all nothing prevents you from sharing it with your friends or family once it has been resolved. And all this for the price of a cinema ticket.
The second criticism that we can make (it must be) is the complexity of this first investigation in not that. If you're used to this genre, you'll quickly find what it's all about and it will find it easy to dismiss the wrong leads. From my memory, the demonstration version I played was a little more robust, so we hope that this will be a preferred option for the future.
Crime Zoom is a real good surprise. Small game, small box, small price but great fun. A successful cocktail. Clever, the game has a surprising depth for its category. I rediscovered the pleasure of a Sherlock Holmes scenario for a limited playing time. Open to everyone, gamer or the more family-oriented, Crime Zoom is a game that gives you great freedom in terms of time, but also in terms of choices. All in all, a freedom of intervention, leaving you free to carry out the investigation while reframing yourself so as not to get lost. Ideal so as not to waste too much time and prevent the scenario from getting bogged down. If you love investigative games, it would be a shame to miss this one. Far from being a simple clone, Crime Zoom starts from a simple and relatively well-known concept to make it a clever and easily shared game. Several other scenarios are currently in preparation and I admit that I can not wait to discover them. Aurora is definitely a small publisher to follow because of its choice of range and its production concerns.
Technical score 9/10
Easily transportable, this game offers you the possibility of solving this mystery anywhere and especially sharing it with your friends or your family. No mistakes, gripping illustrations, with simple and effective rules that immerses you directly in the game.
My BGG score 9/10
Excellent - very much enjoy playing.
A very pleasant surprise and a great pleasure to have played this game. It is easy to get caught up in the game and the investigation can be followed with pleasure. We would have liked a little more challenge but for a first try it is already very well done. The simplicity of the system makes it possible to play it with anyone for a very reasonable time and price.
Combined score 9/10
Now it's your turn ...