The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a 2.5D Lovecraftian Metroidvania that puts you in control of the titular character on a mission to solve the recent murder of his father. Splitting your time between the real world and various Limbo worlds, you will encounter monsters, mayhem and mysteries galore. Welcome to our The Last Case of Benedict Fox review!
Beautiful and sluggish
The first thing that strikes you when playing The Last Case of Benedict Fox is how utterly beautiful it is. Every single aspect of the game from the environment to the colour palette and even Benedict Fox himself look absolutely perfect. What also strikes you, however, is how sluggish the controls feel. This is something that can be easily adapted to, however, but might cause some issues at first. For example, enemy encounters that involve multiple enemies are difficult to navigate due to the precision required, but with enough practice, you shouldn’t have much trouble with it.
As Benedict Fox progresses through each area, he unravels the mystery surrounding his father’s death. Along the way, he encounters numerous people who guide him further, the most helpful of whom always happen to be deceased. Benedict has the ability to enter the deceased people’s memories and essentially play them back, revealing more of the story. Each time this happens, it enables new interactions to be accessed within different areas.
Picking up clues
Benedict is also able to collect clues in the form of exhibits along the way, all of which seem completely random. Examples of such random exhibits include a comb, some scribbled notes, splinters and a severed human hand which is still able to move.
With the exception of occasionally getting stuck on what to do or where to go, the pacing feels just right for the majority of the time. The Last Case of Benedict Fox always manages to keep an air of mystery about it as you play and I kept finding myself keen to find out what was going to happen next.
Points of interest
The way that points of interest are handled is something that I especially enjoyed. When approaching a point of interest, you will see three disembodied shapes to the side of the screen. As you move towards them, they draw closer together until they all combine to form a single shape. Once combined, whatever is behind them is highlighted as the area of interest and becomes interactive.
There is a distinct lack of direction in The Last Case of Benedict Fox as there are no quest pointers or navigational aids to help you determine where to go next. You have to enter the map each time, locate the relevant point and then navigate from there. This feels especially clunky and could probably have been implemented better, possibly in the same vein as the point of interest aids.
Puzzle together key information
Puzzles make up a significant portion of this game, often restricting access to certain areas until they are solved. As you progress through the story, you uncover key information which in turn allows you to go back and solve the puzzle to gain access. It is not always clear, however, what needs to be done and I often found myself revisiting numerous areas at random in the hope of spotting something I might have previously missed.
Each time Benedict Fox defeats an enemy, he collects Ink from them. Benedict then spends said Ink on tattoos that he gets on his arms, with each tattoo granting him a new ability. This is how the skill tree has been implemented in The Last Case of Benedict Fox and it is one of the most creative implementations that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the skill tree is rather basic with just 12 tattoos/abilities available and it would have been nice to include more of them. Nevertheless, it is still fun to work through and the tattoo animation is heavy-going but in a good way. Those skills then grant Benedict new powers or allow him to reach and access areas of each environment that were previously inaccessible. As such, acquiring and upgrading abilities keeps the gameplay flow moving along nicely.
It’s a miracle!
Benedict Fox is able to heal himself with Miracle Water. How you use Miracle Water, however, is entirely dependent on your current scenario and immediate surroundings because it can be used in two ways. First, you can press the dedicated “heal” button one time to allocate one slot of health (up to four maximum). However, if you have time, you can press and hold the dedicated “heal” button and you will receive one slot of health per second that you hold the button down for.
As such, if you have three seconds to spare, you are able to fully recover to maximum health using a single Miracle Water. However, if you are mid-battle and have been struck down to a single health slot, then you must act quickly. You will most likely press the button one time to use a Miracle Water and restore one health slot, bringing you back up to two slots.
As there is only one ending for The Last Case of Benedict Fox, there is no real reason to replay any levels. Not only is the story linear, but each quest is one-dimensional, meaning that there are not multiple ways to complete them. As such, unless you want to merely revisit the beautiful scenery and environments, there isn’t much to lure you back in again.
Imagery is where The Last Case of Benedict Fox truly shines, with great audio not far behind. Every single detail in this stunning game is well-thought-out and it is a true visual masterpiece. Every room that you enter could be straight out of an abstract cartoon artist’s portfolio and everything looks perfectly “in place”. For example, each enemy you encounter looks as if they have originated from their surroundings, which is impressive. The environments all feel truly alive, with bubbling pools of Ink and monstrous, living, festering appendages growing out of inanimate objects. Some levels seem to be constructed entirely from broken pieces of scrapped wood whereas others appear to have grown organically out of the very bowels of Hell itself.
The audio is another aspect of The Last Case of Benedict Fox that Plot Twist should be especially proud of. Everything sounds incredible, from the voice acting, to the bass-heavy sleuth-y background music. Enemies make sounds that you would expect such monstrous enemies to make and the environments sound great as you traverse them.
Each strike that Benedict lands on an enemy sounds satisfactorily squidgy, like punching a slime-filled cushion. The smaller auditory details, such as the grunts that Benedict makes when climbing or jumping, also positively add to the overall effect.
Truly stunning visuals, excellent sound quality and intriguing puzzles make for a fun and intriguing 2.5D Metroidvania adventure. Story elements are drip-fed to you as you progress and each new world that you discover is exciting and filled with visual treats galore. However, sluggish controls and a lack of clear direction throughout these beautiful worlds often remove you from the immersion, which can leave you feeling frustrated and confused. Enemy battles are fun, but encounters that require precision can take some getting used to at first due to the control issues. Overall, The Last Case of Benedict Fox is definitely worth exploring if you enjoy beautiful Metroidvanias, solving puzzles and unravelling mysteries.
- Art style, audio and creativity are all of exceptional quality
- Pacing feels just right
- Interesting story
- Incredibly powerful and macabre atmosphere
- Sluggish controls
- Lack of guidance
- Some puzzles are utterly baffling
The Last Case of Benedict Fox is currently available through Boosteroid and Xbox Cloud Gaming. This review was made by Mus from PapaBear Gaming. You can check out his channel right here. You can follow him on Twitter by going here. That was it for our The Last Case of Benedict Fox review.