|“||Join the Police of Grimsborough to solve a series of cases in this captivating hidden object, adventure game. Work crime scenes for clues, interview witnesses and suspects, and carefully analyze evidence to catch the true killers.||„|
|—Original app description|
Criminal Case (frequently abbreviated to "CC") is an adventure, hidden object and puzzle video game developed and published by Pretty Simple. It was first released for Facebook on November 15, 2012; ports for iOS and Android devices followed in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Criminal Case has been cited as one of the most popular and addictive Facebook games ever since the start of 2013, and currently has over one million monthly active users. On December 9, 2013, it was crowned the Facebook Game of the Year 2013.
The player acts as a detective to solve murder cases and advance through the game's story.
The player must locate relevant clues at crime scenes by clicking items in the scene. Greater scores are awarded for finishing the scene quickly; the player earns stars that can later be used as a type of currency for performing necessary tasks such as examining evidence and questioning suspects. During this process, the player will also come across necessary autopsies and analyses that may take a few real-life hours to complete. Furthermore, as the player progresses through each case, they acquire clues as to who the victim was, how they were killed, and what relation they had with the case's suspects.
At the conclusion of every case, the player is then presented with all the suspects and must arrest the one who fulfills each of the criteria gained throughout the investigation. If the decision is correct, the case is solved. In order to unlock the next case, however, the player is also required to complete the solved case's post-indictment chapter, enabling the player to receive reports and finally move on to the succeeding case—though this procedure does not have to be undertaken in any of the tutorial cases. Past cases may additionally be revisited (and even replayed) at any time to grind for rewards.
While investigating cases, the player must also go through a variety of puzzle elements, such as puzzle-style hidden object scenes that must be unscrambled and few simple click-and-drag activities to break up the player's routine, like shuffling through various items, restoring torn or broken items and deciphering numbers, names or locked items.
Other gameplay features include: customizing the player-avatar; purchasing pets for extra rewards, like boosting up the final score of a crime scene; utilizing power-ups such as boosters and snacks; obtaining collectibles like cards; and unlocking trophies.
Like many other Facebook games, Criminal Case incorporates an energy system, which is used to engage in crime scene investigations.
The game is primarily a single-player affair, but it does involve a number of social features. Each crime scene has a leaderboard, for example, and the player may choose a "partner" from their list of "teammates" (friends who also play Criminal Case and are "recruited" to the player's team) to join the investigation of each scene and provide hint bonuses. Teammates mainly help to accumulate a higher amount of energy points (by sending them out to the player)—allowing a faster progression.
During the first season of the game, the player investigates murders in the fictional city of Grimsborough, which is heavily based on New York City. Grimsborough consists of six districts: Industrial Area, Financial Center, Historical Center, University, Maple Heights, and Airport.
In the second season, the player is moved to Pacific Bay, a fictional city based primarily on Los Angeles, California. Pacific Bay is divided into ten districts: Ocean Shore, Bayou Bleu, Inner City, Jazz Town, White Peaks, Ivywood Hills, Rhine Canyon, Innovation Valley, Paradise City, and The Wastes.
In the course of the third season, labelled as World Edition and/or Save the World!, the player is assigned the task to solve crimes in different parts of the world—that is, real-world continents and regions, namely Europe, Sahara Region, Eurasia, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania, Africa, South America, and North America.
Throughout the fourth season, Mysteries of the Past, the player is required to investigate murders across the fictional city of Concordia in the United States. A Victorian city in the late 19th century, it is composed of ten districts: New Haven, Elysium Fields, Century Mile, Sinner's End, Coyote Gorge, Crimson Banks, Wolf Street, Grim Chapel, Ivory Hill, and Capitol Peak.
The fifth season, named as The Conspiracy, is set once again in Grimsborough, and back in the present day following the events of the third season. The new rendition of Grimsborough is made up of ten districts: Fairview, Money Mile, The Greens, Old Town, Maple Heights, Misty Grove, University, Spring Fields, Airport, and Newmark.
Throughout the sixth season, called Travel in Time, the player is assigned to solve murders across seven time periods, namely Ancient Times, The 1960s, Renaissance, Altered Present, Age of Sail, Medieval Asia, and The End.
During the seventh season, titled Supernatural Investigations, the player is tasked to solve mainly murders related to the supernatural across six general regions of the United States: West, Southwest, The Rockies, Midwest, East, and South.
The eighth and final season, known as City of Romance or Paris: City of Romance, the player is tasked to solve murders across six districts of Paris, France, including Fantasy, Attraction, Obsession, Jealousy, Separation, and Engagement.
- Main article: Characters
The game begins with the silent protagonist—a rookie cop whose basic identity corresponds to the player's specified name and gender—pursuing a career with the Grimsborough Police Department. Partnered with David Jones, the protagonist soon earns a reputation for solving difficult cases, and eventually succeeds in putting an end to the notorious secret society held responsible for much of the heinous crimes in the city throughout the years. The protagonist is then landed a promotion into the Pacific Bay Police Department.
Now working alongside Amy Young and Frank Knight, the protagonist unfolds crimes even more sinister than the ones in Grimsborough, only to know that a mad scientist is behind the scenes of the high crime rates in Pacific Bay. With great difficulty, the protagonist ultimately restores peace back to the city. After the Chief of Police states that Pacific Bay has to start anew with lower crime rates, Jack Archer—elite force agent of the Bureau—offers the protagonist a job at said international police force, which also happens to be the world's top agency. The protagonist accepts.
Partnered not only with Jack, but also Carmen Martinez and, for a short while, Michelle Zuria, the protagonist is tasked with investigating crimes all over the world as part of the Bureau, which was formed to fight against an international crime organization called SOMBRA. After chasing them all over the globe, the Bureau is finally able to bring SOMBRA down, but not without the sacrifice of Armand Dupont, who, on his deathbed, entrusts his great-grandfather's notebook to the protagonist.
As Jack reads the adventures laid out in the notebook, the protagonist is immersed in the story of the 19th century city of Concordia, where the Concordian Flying Squad operates. The protagonist gets partnered with Maddie O'Malley and Isaac Bontemps as they uncover crimes all over the city. The Squad brings down a corrupt police department, two feuding gangs, and a wealthy but corrupt family as an ambitious, justice-driven district attorney rises up the ranks to ultimately become the city's mayor. The Squad then actively resists his oppressive regime before bringing him down and bringing true justice into the city.
After the protagonist finishes reading the journal, they go back to Grimsborough, where a mysterious object from the sky crash-landed one year earlier. The protagonist gets back in the Grimsborough Police Department and partners up with Jones and the newly-recruited Gloria Hayes to unravel crimes all around the now-restructured city, especially those committed by a university-originated secret criminal group and their affiliates. Eventually, the team defeat said group's mastermind-turned-greatest enemy and the army of invincible humanoids she had created out of her desire for the enhancement of the human race, stopping the city's destruction in the process. Five and a half months later, Jack—coming from the year 2029—once again recruits the player in T.I.M.E., an elite police force, this time spanning the world across both space and time.
The player accepts the offer, traveling across various time periods to solve historical murders and preserve history with their partners, Jack himself and Zara Tien. After traveling to 47 BCE, T.I.M.E. finds itself stranded in the past, eventually discovering that they have been sabotaged by an ambitious family who had used time travel technology to take over as tyrannical world leaders. Trying to undo their alterations to the past, the team eventually decide to travel to their starting point at 47 BCE, where the actions of their remorseful saboteur return the timeline to normal.
After ensuring the preservation of the normal timeline, the player returns to 2019 and accepts a position on Jacob Arrow's team of Supernatural Hunters, who travel across the United States to investigate supernatural events that cannot be comprehended by conventional law enforcement agencies. Solving crimes with supernatural elements along the way alongside Gwen Harper and Luke Fernandez, the player encounters a legion of demons who wish to free their encaged Queen, who wishes to tear down the veil and release the demon hordes, transforming the Earth into a new Netherworld. While their plans almost come into fruition, the team is able to kill the Queen once and for all with the help of a human specifically created to subdue her.
Two months after the demon queen's defeat, with supernatural crime rates dropping, the player travels to Paris. They eventually join the Parisian Police Squad along with fellow American police officer Carrie James (from Los Angeles). They, Carrie, and Hugo Mercier then investigate various murders around the city of romance on top of uncovering various crimes connected to a notorious Parisian mobster and a dating application’s CEO. Here, the player’s story is concluded, with some of the player's former partners attending a wedding, where they then thank the player for all the memories.
Criminal Case quickly gained popularity, securing more than ten million monthly active users by mid-2013, and becoming highly competitive with Candy Crush Saga, one of the most popular games on Facebook.
On December 9, 2013, Criminal Case won the Facebook Game of the Year 2013 award.
The game has a 40-percent share of Facebook users.
Some reasons cited for the game's success include its graphic crime scenes and meaningful narratives.
On July 15, 2014, the game's official Facebook app page reached a milestone of 50 million "likes".
Criminal Case: Pacific Bay
On February 15, 2017, Pretty Simple announced the official worldwide launch of Criminal Case: Pacific Bay, available for play on Facebook and mobile devices as an independent app featuring all of the Pacific Bay cases (and other related content) existing in the original game, as well as an exclusive introductory case named Welcome to Pacific Bay. Other noticeable in-game differences include a tweaked color scheme and design, updated soundtrack, and a number of new customization options for the player-avatar.
Criminal Case: Save the World
On June 27, 2017, a standalone app for World Edition, subtitled Save the World (or Save the World!), was officially released for Facebook and mobile devices worldwide. Similar to Criminal Case: Pacific Bay, it also includes updated visuals and audio, new avatar items, and a new case called The Murder of Amanda Love.
Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past
On February 22, 2018, Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past was officially released for Facebook and mobile devices worldwide. Like its predecessors, it acts as a standalone app for the Mysteries of the Past portion of the game, and includes updated visuals and audio, new avatar items, and a new case called The Murder of Mrs Stanbury.
Criminal Case: The Conspiracy
After a French-only release on December 7th 2018, Criminal Case: The Conspiracy was officially released for mobile devices worldwide on February 19, 2019 and for Facebook worldwide two days later. Once again, it acts as a standalone app for the fifth season of the game, and includes updated visuals and audio, new avatar items, and a new case called The Dead and the Beautiful.
Criminal Case: Travel in Time
After a French-only release on October 28th 2019, Criminal Case: Travel in Time was officially released for mobile devices worldwide on June 9th, 2020 and for Facebook worldwide two days later. Once again, it acts as a standalone app for the sixth season of the game, and includes new gameplay, updated visuals and audio, new avatar items, and a new case called The Murder of Napoleon.
Investigating crime scenes in the Travel in Time app involves entirely new gameplay. There is no more set number of points in order to gain a star; instead, completing the scene's task (which progresses in difficulty with each star and case) within the given amount of time (60 or 120 seconds) awards the player with a star. Points gained from the investigation now only matter if one wants to reach a high score. Meanwhile, failure to complete the task reaps no rewards. Due to this change, each crime scene now has up to 10 stars (for a total of 90 per case), and each task now requires 2 stars to complete. The "Time Attack" bonus is no longer available, being replaced with a second "Puzzles" bonus scene. Furthermore, the system for boosters and partners has also changed (see Boosters § Criminal Case: Travel in Time and Hints § Criminal Case: Travel in Time for details).
Criminal Case: Supernatural Investigations
After a French-only release on September 24th 2020, Criminal Case: Supernatural Investigations was officially released for mobile devices worldwide on October 5th, 2020 and for Facebook worldwide two days later. Once again, it acts as a standalone app for the seventh season of the game, and includes slightly altered visuals from the original app, updated audio, new avatar items, and a new case called The Murder of Edward Blake.
Criminal Case: City of Romance
After a French-only release on November 19th 2020, Criminal Case: City of Romance was officially released for mobile devices worldwide on November 25th, 2020 and for Facebook worldwide a day later. Once again, it acts as a standalone app for the eighth season of the game, and includes slightly altered visuals from the original app, updated audio, a revamped avatar shop with previous games' items, and a new case called The Murder of Emilie Bouton.
- "About Criminal Case". Facebook. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- Tach, Dave (December 9, 2013). "Facebook crowns Criminal Case the top game of 2013". Polygon. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Glasser, AJ (December 9, 2013). "Facebook Games of the Year 2013". Facebook. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- MacGuill, Dan (December 10, 2013). "Made in France 'Criminal Case' conquers Facebook". The Local. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Criminal Case - Facebook Showcase Blog". Facebook. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Criminal Case on Facebook
- Criminal Case on the App Store
- Criminal Case on Google Play
- Criminal Case on the Amazon Appstore