We all know the scene by now; Moonlight bleeds through a crack in the blinds, catching steadily rising smoke. A half-abandoned cigarette rests on the lips of an ashtray. Pensive Jazz leaks from an old radio, interrupted by bursts of thunder. A dapper detective with tired eyes and an impossibly square jawline sips black coffee. As if from nowhere, a woman enters his office, bringing with her all the troubles of the city’s dark underbelly. Bringing with her the night itself.

When you start up A Case of Distrust, the rich, smoky prose and familiar music might lead to believe you know exactly what to expect. But the square-jawed man isn’t a man at all, and the sultry damsel is her cat. Your first case? Convince your incredulous feline that there’s nothing to eat in the house. Not even a few red herrings.

A case of distrust

A Case of Distrust

Ben Wander’s A Case of Distrust is ‘narrative mystery from 1924 San Francisco.’ You play as private investigator Phyllis Malone Cadence. Speaking to Cliqist at the time of his Noir Mystery’s E3 showcase last year, Ben Wander spoke about his choice to subvert the traditional role of the noir detective.

“While re-reading mystery novels, I couldn’t help but wonder, how would the lives of hardboiled detectives change if they were women?…What struggles would she encounter simply because of her gender?…That nugget of an idea spawned the entire story.”

Malone trades out Guybrush Threepwood pockets for a notebook; the information she collects becomes her inventory, and players will use evidence to progress through the hardboiled narrative. An IndieCade Official Selection for 2017, A Case of Distrust features a striking, tinted monochrome cut out style inspired by the works of graphic artist Saul Bass.

A new playable demo for A Case of Distrust is available here, and don’t forget to check out our in-depth interview with creator Ben Wander.

Nic Reuben

Nic Reuben

Nic Reuben likes to pause games every five minutes to ponder the thematic implications of explosive barrel placement. When he's not having an existential crisis over CAPTCHA verifications that ask him to prove he's not a robot, he's reading sci-fi and fantasy short stories, watching cartoons, and mourning the writing standards in Game of Thrones.
Nic Reuben


Games Words Person // Writing in: @Cliqist, @NewNormative @GoombaSt0mp @GalpOGG // nic@cliqist.com
@ibogost https://t.co/ckQmBBbkzS I was very careful about my phrasing here https://t.co/yiWHFOomrH - 6 hours ago
Nic Reuben