Bureau: Shattered Slipper (240 MSP) is the kind of game you play with one hand, if you know what I mean.
I’m a lefty, so while my right hand manipulated the controller (you really only need to press the A button through most of this, occasionally pull the right trigger) my left hand was busy working up a sweat, building up muscle, manipulating the hell out of my… TV remote, of course. The Spurs / Thunder game was in full swing. Western Conference Finals, people.
No but really, you only need one hand. Shattered Slipper comes from Twist-Ed Games, the same developer behind the original Bureau: Agent Kendall (did not play), and last year’s Colonies: Neociv, a game I’d actually meant to try out but never did. Imagine a CG movie / gif file where the tits-to-text ratio is greatly skewed towards tits, where you click through conversations and sometimes make a choice or sort through clues, with a firm… rounded… emphasis on the visuals, and you’ve got this sequel. Less interactive than your average Telltale game, with a little more logic involved than say, the Avalis Dungeon series, but the puzzles here still won’t tax you much.
Both Bureau games follow the progress of the voluptuous Agent Kendall, and, according to the ‘Previously On’ that played at the start, the original ends with her in a precarious and naked situation. Good news is she survives, and most of the game’s cutscenes play out with Kendall in various stages of near-nakedness; Twist-Ed Games knows how and where its bread is buttered. The writing isn’t terrible, but if you need more filler, she used to work for a guy named Ramesh, but now serves under an Agent Kyler in the FBI, who has that sort-of creepy Kyle MacLachlan / Crispin Glover thing going on. Not too sure about that guy.
Those are some nice countertops.
When you’re not in conversation or ogling Kendall, there is an actual case to solve— a woman punted out of a high-rise penthouse, her hick family from Illinois, and a few sketchy people that fall into the usual crime drama archetypes. The investigative work is done largely through your phone, which ushers in the limited playing you’ll do here. There’s the standard (and Kindergarten-easy) ‘background check’ and ‘what did you see in this scene’ moments, where you’ll relay important objects in a video and sometimes put them in order of appearance. Yawn. The ‘choose your response’ sections, which have you talking a fine line to avoid angering a potential witness or… start an interoffice romance (giggles), show more enthusiasm and effort, but don’t pop up enough for you to escape tedium.
There isn’t much on the action side either. No chase sequences. Some QTEs. You will fire your gun a few times, and learn to take cover in the tutorial that you’ll never use anywhere in-game. Hmmm. And just when I’d finished the case and thought Kendall and I were moving on to bigger and better, possibly another yoga session (or two, three, whatever it takes to relax, especially when Kairi ruins the mood with disturbing accusations), the thing just ends with a tease for the eventual third game. Caseblocked! Blue bullets!
I played through this scene a handful of times, convinced I’d missed an important clue. A zoom feature would’ve helped.
It’s hard to give a dollar value to something like Bureau: Shattered Slipper. Well, not really, as that dollar most likely gets tucked affectionately into a CG G-string. The storyline is okay, some swaths of the dialogue and choice options are worth a laugh, intentionally and unintentionally. Then there’s the brevity, the fact that you only really work one ho-hum case, and limited interactivity with the characters, environment, eh… everything. It’s not something I’d pay the full-price of 240 for (hindsight, you bastard, where were you?), but offer to check out the next chapter and tip them a buck for the Kendall Show? Sure.