The Panic Room: CSI: Stranglehold

By | June 3, 2020

Online, May 2020

Rated 3.5 out of 5
Toby says:

Third in The Panic Room’s series of online CSI games, Stranglehold follows the well-trodden theme of tracking down a serial killer. Like the one before it, this is a game based around elimination: you have an initial list of suspects, who must be eliminated until you find the culprit. (It would be rather unsatisfying if you identified the murderer purely on the basis of ‘last man standing’ – fortunately that’s not what this game does.)
As with the others, you have a linear sequence of puzzles to solve, each of which unlocks a new packet of clues, until the final challenge of picking the correct suspect. One small difference in style is that here you start off with a notebook of clues inherited from the recently deceased detective who was previously assigned to the case, and that gives you a repository of information to refer back to and use as and when the right moment arises.
Although enthusiasts will make short work of many of these puzzles, we still managed to spend quite some time stuck early on. That was mainly because I was ignoring something important, but I still thought the difficulty curve was a bit uneven, being hard to get started then varying to suddenly suspiciously simple.
When a puzzle resolves to a letter code, that code can be a random jumble of letters, or it can be a meaningful word (ideally, one that’s related to the theme or puzzle, while still not being guessable). It’s not a big difference, but when the answer code is meaningful it’s both neatly satisfying and helps provide reassurance that you’ve done the right thing. The Panic Room’s other online games did that well, so it’s a small step back that Stranglehold doesn’t always. But that’s a puzzle purist’s minor quibble.
Bumping the game’s sophistication up a notch is the plentiful use of video, with slickly produced and decently acted video clips. I also thought the overarching puzzle of identifying the culprit worked well and felt convincing. I’d say the best of the puzzles in Grounded were better than those in Stranglehold; but of the three CSI games released by The Panic Room so far, Stranglehold is the one I’d recommend first. 3.5 / 5
Pris rated this:3.5 / 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *