Title: Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Recently Nintendo decided to drop remakes of the Famicom Detective Club series, two classic titles from Yoshio Sakamoto (Metroid creator), on the Nintendo Switch. These are some of the earliest visual novel games that most people, unfortunately, didn’t get to enjoy because they were never released outside of Japan. Not to mention, they were also released only for the Family Computer Disk System, a Famicom add-on that used 5.25 floppy disks.
Like I’ve previously stated in my review of the other Famicom Detective Club title, “The Missing Heir,” these titles are 30-year-old point-and-click style visual novels that play a lot like the scenes outside of the courtroom in Pheonix Wright titles. You’re interviewing suspects and looking for evidence.
However, this one is way creepier than Missing Heir. The Girl Who Stands Behind is about a high school girl who is murdered and discarded in a river shortly around the same time local high school students start reporting being stalked by the ghost of a girl that stands behind people as if about to whisper in their ear. Even the title screen for the game lets you know that this one is going to be the spooky one.
I kid you not, this is directly before the game turns black and white and covered in TV static. I had just stopped recording before it went full spookems.
Despite being a sequel, The Girl Who Stands Behind explains everything about the main characters from the first game. It actually explains how you got involved in the agency, where your partner came from, who your boss is, even where the name Detective Club name comes from so… I dunno, maybe don’t do what I did and play this one first? Who knows. They’re not that connected outside of the main characters though.
The story in this is a bit more interesting than Missing Heir as it doesn’t focus so much on the cliched “people fighting over the will”-type story. It’s also a bit creepier but after the last several years where games have gotten so dark that people working on them are literally developing PTSD, I was a bit thrown off by the lack of anything all that bad in this.
The victim’s body, for example. When you first arrive on the scene it’s hidden behind tarps and they warn you you might not be ready for it. You have to acquire special permission as you’re a very young detective. When you finally get in you find that she is just looking completely normal. She almost looks like she could wake up as if from a nap.
Not that I’m complaining. As someone with PTSD myself, I honestly appreciate the fact that a game can tell me someone’s dead without showing me their organs. Thanks, Mages.
Not that the game is devoid of detail though. This game is weirdly packed with details you might not even think about. Take this scene very early on. Technically this is a boring scene with a ton of exposition to help you understand the main characters. But look in the background.
At the very beginning, there’s a girl walking by the window. And if you watch at :19 in, there’s a moment in which a server actually walks up to someone in the background and takes their order. Even for a modern visual novel, there’s a lot of moments like this that showed a great love for the universe they were creating. I normally have a hard time getting into visual novels but little touches like this make the world feel alive.
As for the story itself, just like in Missing Heir, the characters hold secrets as well as a colander holds fluid. It’s just an absolute joy to realize who the perp is and then slowly push your character towards that answer.
I would go so far as to say that if I had to pick between the two titles, this is the one I’d go with as I think it has a bit more detail and the story is a bit better. Though you do get a $10 discount on the other one if you’re buying them together digitally.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.