I Am Innocent puts you straight into this difficult situation. Told completely through a messaging service, the story surrounds you and the decisions you make. Initially these will be fairly simple; for example choosing how to respond to a friend may improve or worsen your relationship. Answer a question with negativity or disinterest and it will have an effect on how they respond in turn. The deeper into the story you go however, the more impactful your choices are. Once the unknown numbers get in contact, one being the kidnapped victim and the other being the perpetrator, the options you’re given can often mean the difference between life and death.
To assist you in investigating the crime is your internet tool. Luckily you have a hacker friend at hand, who provides you access to the messenger’s data, meaning you can eventually track the numbers down. Before you can do so several puzzles need to be completed, which involve fitting different coloured shapes into certain block patterns, similar to games like Tetris. Preventing you from revealing the data is your limited money resource and health. Each failed puzzle results in a loss of life, unless you choose pay for an extra turn with the in-game currency. If both of these run out, then you run the risk of not just leaving that particular puzzle unsolved, but the mystery itself too.
Because I Am Innocent takes place within a ‘messenger app’ it genuinely feels real. You can easily imagine the people you chat with to be your real friends, and the mysterious crime to be taking place in real life. That’s what makes it so gripping, which is amazing for what is essentially a fairly simple story. The developer even asks of you to allow notifications so that your ‘friends’ and unknown numbers can send you messages even when you aren’t in the app. Often the contacts involved in the crime will send real-life photographs, and every now and again you might receive a mysterious telephone call with distant voices, all to add to the realism. It’s an incredibly simple but effective way of making players feel engrossed in the narrative.
The puzzles can sometimes feel like a chore, particularly when the narrative begins getting into full flow, yet they are a good way to give the game more longevity, and break away from the intense storyline. Luckily you aren’t required to complete every single one, so you’re able to breeze through them as quickly as possible to access the data. Even when they do get too challenging, there are ways for you to make it easier, such as changing the shapes and colours of each block.
I Am Innocent may not have you gripped at the start, but more intrigued than anything. It’s different to the majority of other apps on the market in that it’s involving, and doesn’t want you to believe that it’s a game. Yet once the mystery begins unravelling you’ll be fully engrossed and unable to put your phone or tablet down. Just don’t let it convince you it’s too real.[appbox googleplay com.glaznev.innocent]