The Walsingham Files – Chapter 1 is a free story-based detective game. The player is given no hints or in-game notepad and told at the start of the game to take their own notes and keep a calculator handy. The game aims to emulate the experience of being a detective without any hand holding.
Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 3 hours
In The Walsingham Files the player is expected to take their own notes. There is no hint system or indication of what areas can eventually be accessed. The game predominantly focuses on character dialog and key information is hidden across multiple conversations. If the player fails to take notes, there’s no way to rewind or review dialog, so the pressure to pay attention feels real. Like a real detective, there’s also a lot of leg work required. I personally could’ve done with less running around, but it fits with the authentic feel of the game.
The world in The Walsingham Files feels well fleshed out with a multitude of characters. Each character had a personality and backstory, and I was pleased by their diversity. Most characters are mentioned before you meet them, so it’s handy to keep information on what is known about people before they show up. The story is fairly complex and builds up to a deep mystery with multiple facets. I’m curious to see how all the different, seemingly unrelated, threads tie together.
Unfortunately, only the first chapter of The Walsingham Files has been released. Sapphire Dragon Productions’ prior game Silver Creek Falls takes place before the events of The Walsingham Files, for players that are interested in the series. No release date for the next chapter has been given at this time.
Overall, I enjoyed the authentic challenging feel of The Walsingham Files. The story and characters are interesting. The manual note taking won’t be for everyone though, I personally went overboard with around 8 pages of fragmented trivia. I think more of the heart of the mystery solving will be in the later chapters, whenever they’re released. Mystery fans looking for a challenge should definitely give The Walsingham Files a try, but those that hate cliffhangers should wait until the other chapters are available.