About mystery/investigative games

Hi everyone,

I’m currently writing a noir/mystery game on twine called Lone Hertz. While I’ve made a big chunk of progress (a whole act is playable right now on itch), I how like to know what kind of things people expect from these types of games, like lenght, the effect of the choices in NPC’s and etc.

Thanks for helping!


Well, I normally don’t play choice games, but in this case I would expect a puzzle (or several) about “whodunnit”. I would expect witnesses as NPCs. Probably NPCs who are strange or unique or special. I don’t know how do-able it is in a choice game, but an assistent would be cool. He/she could give hints or summarize the informations gotten so far.

Edit: I would prefer medium-length.


I can’t recall that I’ve played many murder mystery IF games–but I have read a lot of the genre! Length-wise, I’d say medium to shorter. Noir is a genre that’s served better in smaller doses rather than epic stories. I would expect NPCs to have strong motivations of their own (and to all be very sus). The choices the player makes could affect their behavior drastically. I would also be excited by clues and puzzles and at least one secret message to decrypt


I played your ACT I. The noir bit works well, but the details of the mystery is less obvious. Perhaps this is because it’s only ACT I. I liked the sound effects too.

I found the presentation a bit cramped, but perhaps that’s the “noir” style you’re striving for.

Some bits of text looked like clickable, but were in fact just different colors. Use of the pixel font later looked a bit weird in the “noir” context.

But to answer your question, one of the aspects of mysteries is to always have a lead for the player to follow. Not that you’re not doing that, but something to consider.


I played Act I and hope to play the full game. Enjoying it so far.

However, I was puzzled by the title because it is the name of a well known Danish actor: Lone Hertz

But then I realized that Lone here is like “alone” and not a name. I haven’t figured out what Hertz means in the title yet…


Thanks for checking it out! ACT I is supposed to act (lol) as a set-up to the story. Each choice will impact how the plot plays out later, even if it does not looks like. I’m currently working in ACT II and trying my best to focus in the investigative aspects of the plot.

While some decisions looks weird right now (like the pixel font), I’m trying to fit a thematic in which they’ll make sense in the long way.

Thanks for checking it out!

The name is a play with “alone hearts” and Hertz (or Hz) is a unit to measure frequency (1 hertz = to one event/cycle per second, much like a heart has it’s BPM. It’s a term used to oblivion with computers, so it felt kinda natural to the story lol

Also thank everyone for the inputs! It’s really helpful to know what the public looks for in these kinds of stories

@Greyelf Thanks for the input!

I think I’ll add a master volume in the help button so it’s acessible at all times.

Also about the links, I imagine you mean both of them having an icon and that “glitchy” effect, but those are stylistic choices to represent the main character. I will probably change it or try to find a better solution if they’re super confusing or are in the way of the overall experience.


This is what i thought. Good luck with the project.


I like a well written interactive mystery. Most of the ones I can cite are parser rather than TWINE, but reading those reviews may give you a source of information

Make it Good (Jon Ingold) is thoroughly noir, and showing up on a lot of people’s top fifty lists.
Color the Truth (Mathbrush) does some really cool things with modelling the interrogation part of the investigation.
Deadline (Marc Blanc) is a very early infocom game which (for better or worse) requires multiple playthroughs to win, but I felt it was Infocoms best mystery. Focus is less on interogation, and more on being at the right place at the right time.
1893: A World’s Fair Mystery (Peter Nepstad) can be played either as a mystery, or a casual tour of the 1893 world’s fair. Awesome game.
The Missing Ring (Felicity Drake) is a Twine game, and also one of my favorites.
Mathbrush has this whole list of mysteries.

Mysteries are hard to write. They require careful plot planning such that the reader is able to put the clues together just a moment before the in-game detective does, creating the illusion that the player really is the detective.


I liked Deadline as well. I thought it really created the atmosphere of being there. I remember playing it on an old PC when the ticks of the floppy disk and extra spins of the disk before responding gave an extra sense of suspense as if the characters were actually thinking about their replies or actions. :slight_smile:


Two technical related points:

  1. You’ve included music & sound effects in the project but you include no way for the end-user to alter the volume of or to mute such audio. Which forces the end-user to used the volume settings of their Operating System, and that may affect their ability to hear audio generated by other applications.
  2. You are using multiple link types within the project’s user interface, but there is little visual difference between those types, which can at times makes both distinguishing a link and its type from the Passage’s textual content difficult.