The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a detective metroidvania inspired by noir movies, Greek tragedies, and jazz

The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
(Image credit: Rogue Games)

If there's anything I know about detectives from popular culture, it's that they all have their own particular hang-ups. For self-proclaimed detective Benedict Fox, the titular character of the upcoming metroidvania The Last Case of Benedict Fox, you could say it's his troubled past… or the demon he's bound to who helps him solve mysteries. During an ID@Xbox preview event, I get to see Fox in action with his demon companion during the second hour of developer Plot Twist's adventure. With a dark, atmospheric world, fantastical abilities, boss fights, and detective mechanics, it's easy to see from the get go how The Last Case of Benedict Fox draws from HP Lovecraft, but as creative director Bartek Lesiakowski explains, it has many different inspirations. 

"Apart from the most obvious one, which are all of the creations of HP Lovecraft, We actually are inspired by a bunch of things outside of Lovecraft. We try to draw inspiration from noir movies from the 40s and 50s, from Jazz music from the 1920s and from classical Greek tragedies. So we try to search everywhere for inspiration." 

Solving the case  

The Last Case of Benedict Fox

(Image credit: Rogue Games)

The blend of Metroidvania meets detective adventure is certainly an intriguing prospect, especially when it's set in an atmospheric world laden with mystery. Instead of your run of the mill detective work, Benedict Fox can instead "plunge" into the memories of deceased people with the help of his demon companion. This allows him to enter a place called The Limbo, which Lesiakowski says is "created through the memories and feelings of a particular person." 

With different abilities and items to use, we get to see how Benedict can interact with clues in a mansion, which serves as a home base area. After taking up a quest, the detective can then traverse to his own father's Limbo to explore his memories. There, he finds a broken broach which serves as a visage of Benedict's grandmother. Through conversation with the demon, we start to learn more about Benedict's family and backstory. As a Metroidvania, we also see how we have to solve puzzles to get past doors, or clear out strange enemy guards in order to reach a teleportation device. 

The Last Case of Benedict

(Image credit: Rogue Games)

From everything that was shown, you can see how the detective elements pair with the  Metroidvania style of the game, and finding a balance between the two is something Plot Twist is aiming for with The Last Case of Benedict Fox.

"It's a vital part of the game [the detective element] since Benedict Fox, the main protagonist, is a self-proclaimed detective," Lesiakowski says. "What we are essentially doing is solving a case and those two elements, Metroidvania and detective elements, intertwine in gameplay and story. It's very hard to distinguish them in our game because some of the Metroidvania locks look like classical puzzles and some of them are very story-driven and some of them are very detective heavy or case-driven." 

"We tried consciously to be very even when it comes to emphasizing different elements of the game," Lesiakowski adds. "So we want the player to be constantly experiencing something new in very small chunks. So you will have a bit of platforming, then a bit of combat, then a bit of story, then puzzles and so and so in constant loops so we could keep the game fresh all the time." 

With boss fights - both large and small - fantastical abilities to unlock, puzzle challenges, and plenty to uncover and solve, The Last Case of Benedict Fox already shows a lot of promise. As someone who's always found detective stories appealing, the unique Lovecraftian spin with a demon who helps you explore memories to solve mysteries has more than piqued my interest. Besides that, I can't wait to explore the game's twisted and beautiful world when it arrives in Spring 2023 on PC and Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass. 

"We always wanted to create something that is very dark in theme but told and shown in a very beautiful and colorful world," Lesiakowski says. "So we wanted to achieve this kind of contrast, because we think that where there is contrast there is friction and where there is friction there is something interesting to tell."

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Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.