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Crime O’Clock

Crime O'clock


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

Crime O’Clock presents itself as a criminal-thwarting detective game with a time-hopping twist. And yes, those elements are certainly blended into the gaming equation. But truthfully, it feels more like Where’s Waldo with some fun puzzles and cute story tweaks.

The game sets the player up as a special agent who, with the help of an AI program called E.V.E., is assigned the task of hunting out crimes that were never supposed to have happened in the “True Timeline” of history. That may sound like a pretty heavy lift for a rookie time agent, but it really requires little more than a keen eye and a dash of creative thinking.

With each new task, the game shows players a monochromatic snapshot, a scene that’s reminiscent of a modernized and intricate Richard Scarry-ish children’s book illustration. There are anthropomorphized characters frozen in action throughout a small-but-densely-packed cityscape. And somewhere in that busy image, a crime is being perpetrated—a crime forced into being by an unknown, time-twisting entity.

E.V.E. asks you to zoom and pan your way through the image, seeking out that specific event. But then you must search for clues and figure out who caused the theft, vandalism or murder, and determine how to keep it from happening.

To fulfill that task, E.V.E. has captured ten “ticks” of time in its black-and-white glimpse of the important event (each tick separated by several minutes). By moving forward and backward through those ticks, players hunt for suspects, stolen items and other objects in a given moment and try to prevent the crime without damaging the timeline further.

E.V.E. also gives players analytical tools that help with their clue gathering. Those tools are unlocked through minigame-focused challenges that might piece together a suspect’s image; line up a fingerprint; give musical map clues; align machine-controlling links and the like.

Once the evildoing is thwarted, it’s on to the next time and place and the next forced crime. Ultimately, you want to determine who or what is behind all of the malodourous malefactions through the ages and stop them in their tracks. The game includes some 40+ crimes in the past and future to solve.


Despite the fact that Crime O’Clock is composed of many frozen, monochrome snapshots, the gameplay still feels vibrant as it bounces from era to era chasing a bigger time-bending crime. The artwork is lively and fun. It’s character-driven and pleasing to the eye.

The game helps younger players by offering a bit of hand-holding from E.V.E. and other AI characters. There’s also a hint page that players can turn to when stumped. And the overall goal is to keep crimes from happening.


The above-mentioned hand-holding can, however, feel a little too controlling for some players. There’s no way to shut that guidance off. And some older players may actually find the puzzles and minigames to be a bit too simple.

Deaths can be depicted in the various crimes. But the scenes are always drawn with cartoon-style humor that features x-ed out eyes or a foot sticking out from under a pile of debris. There’s never any blood or messiness.

The game also bounces around through several different eras. When players leap to an ancient Egyptian-like timeframe, for instance, they’ll find stone statues of animal-headed deities, mentions of holy relics and references to the blessings of the Eye of Ra.

As the game unfolds, we encounter entities that initially seem to be spirit-like creatures, but they end up being rogue-AI programs.


Some players may long for more actual detective work in this time-hopping crime-stopper. But gamers who love searching for objects and people in stylishly creative art will have a great, uh, time. And there’s no crime in that.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.