Australian Council on Children and the Media

Criminal Case - Pretty Simple Games

app image

Short takes

This game simulates television shows, placing the player in a role of a policeman collecting evidence to solve a range of crimes, particularly murders.

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Contains some elements of gambling

This review of Criminal Case was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 5 April 2014.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: Criminal Case
Developed by: Pretty Simple Games
Platform reviewed: Facebook
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: none supplied, over 13 due to Facebook age restrictions.
ACCM suggested age: 16+
Gambling content advice: Contains some elements of gambling. This game may contain devices which mimic those found in a casino; but the player is not risking something of value to play. Refer to the gambling section of this review for further details

ACCM review

This review of Criminal Case contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

Role playing game.

App description

This game simulates television shows, placing the player in a role of a policeman collecting evidence to solve a range of crimes, particularly murders. At one level, this game is essentially a “hidden object” game, where the user has to search crime scenes to find a series of hidden objects. Complexity is added as the player has to analyse the hidden objects to solve a murder. 

Reviewers comments

This Facebook game takes the player through a series of crimes, with the goal being to collect evidence, analyse this and then use the information to arrest the perpetrator. Within each crime there are a series of chapters, where players search through a range of crime scenes, identifying objects (including concerning items such as the victim’s corpse, murder weapons and drug paraphernalia, through to every day items such as food) to earn rewards, progressing through levels of the game. At most levels the player is rewarded for finding these objects quickly, with some additional games focussing on how many objects can be found in a short period of time, rearranging puzzle pieces or identifying differences in two similar scenes. Playing time is metered, with the player using twenty energy points each time they explore a crime scene. Energy is refilled slowly over time, when a player gains a new level, by inviting or playing with friends or when a player purchases and uses “food” such as chips, hamburgers or orange juice. Additional energy can be purchased (see in app purchasing information) with “cash”, which, among other things can also be used to analyse evidence more quickly and write reports.

This game can be played as an individual with a computer-generated partner, or as a peer connected game, using your Facebook friends as partners. As indicated by the fact that the player has to explore crime scenes, this app has many concerns for parents (outlined below).

In App purchasing

In App purchasing here is possible, and the game is difficult to progress through without either purchasing “cash” or by connecting to multiple Facebook friends. As with all Facebook games, unless payment details are removed through Facebook account settings, the player can purchase additional cash without the need to enter a password.

Online information

This is a Facebook game.

Game play within this App relies very heavily on players connecting with their Facebook friends, for example at the end of each case you need Facebook friends to help you write your report before you can progress. While you do have the option of paying for these reports this would mean that the player needs to frequently purchase more “cash” to continue through levels.

Gambling

Little overt gambling evident, however, when playing with a Facebook friend as a partner you are encouraged to give a “lucky card” which is a playing card. These cards are randomly generated and automatically collated to form a “straight”, which the player can then trade in for energy or rewards.

Advertising and product placement

There is no apparent product placement, however as with all Facebook games there is advertising present on each page in the side bar. This advertising can contain products that are adult in nature and appears to be largely randomly allocated.

Gender stereo types and sexual references

There are a range of inappropriate images presented in this game, these include partially nude victims, bodies and body parts and suspects depicted in sexualised positions.

Coarse language

In the levels played no actual course language was used, with symbols inserted into words to convey the sentiment of course language.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

As the user is playing this game as a police officer the central role is to identify inappropriate behaviour of criminals. However, parents may be concerned by some of the scenes, particularly those containing weapons and drug paraphernalia (eg syringes and “drug baggies”) and high prevalence of alcohol. 

Other

Violence and scary material: Violence and scary material is a central feature of this game, with major crimes being investigated in each level. While it could be argued that some scenes have the player “just finding things”, items to be found include a “bloody knife”, guns, swords, and drug paraphernalia. Although images are presented as cartoons, many scenes may concern parents, particularly when bodies or body parts are presented and autopsies are conducted.

Use of substances: Use and implied use of substances is prevalent throughout the game (as outlined in behaviour) with drugs and alcohol frequently present in images.

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.