PETER HOSKIN reviews Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Activate the little grey cells – there’s murder afoot… PETER HOSKIN reviews Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code (Switch, £49.99)

Verdict: Criminally fun


I don’t really believe in the idea of guilty pleasures. If you like something, you like something. And that’s fine.

Even so, I can only describe Master Detective Archives: Rain Code as a guilty pleasure. Because it was a great pleasure to play, but it also left me feeling… guilty.

Let’s start with the pleasure. This is an extremely stylish game of detective work. It sets you, an amnesiac investigator, on a string of (often quite gruesome) murder cases. 

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code sets an amnesia investigator on a string of murder cases

Your task is to figure out, in each case, the perp. Fans of Agatha Christie will have a ball. Or at least some will: there are two major twists on the ol’ whodunnit formula, both of which I loved.

One is that Rain Code is set in a set in a garishly colourful future-city. The other is that your character is possessed by an insistent sort of spirit — who helps you solve mysteries by summoning you to a weird, incorporeal realm of the imagination, where your fighting skills matter just as much as the proficiency of your little grey cells.

But now comes the guilt-inducing part. The spirit who occupies your head is a purple ghost in the real-world; but turns into an under-dressed, big-eyed anime beauty inside those mind labyrinths — where she she’s rather up front about her prominent… er… front.

This won’t surprise people who have played other games by these creators before, such as the Danganronpa series. But, still, Rain Code is not one to play in view of — to pick an entirely random example — your wife.

Hidden away from the judgemental gaze of others, though, did I love my time in these particular detective archives? Guilty as charged.

C-Smash VRS (PlayStation VR2, £24.49)

Verdict: Sport of the future


It’s the Wimbledon finals this weekend, but I tell you: not one of those players is a patch on me when it comes to racket sports. Because whatever they can do, I can do… in space.

C-Smash VRS lets gamers put on a VR headsets to let them play racket sports in space 

For my preternatural talents, I have to thank a new game, C-Smash VRS, which is actually an update of an old game. Some 20 years ago, Cosmic Smash was released — in cabinet form — into amusement arcades. It had its players swiping at balls to knock down walls in minimalist, futuristic environments.

C-Smash VRS is the same basic game of space-tennis — or maybe it’s squash — but with a crucial, drastic twist. This time, it’s in VR. You put on a headset, and there you are on a court in the cosmos, with the controller in your hand turned into a racket.

It makes such a difference. The hypnotic visuals and techno sounds of C-Smash VRS are a treat for the senses — and rival the greatest VR game of them all, Beat Saber. Its sporty gameplay is so precise that it feels like magic. As you get used to it, you can hit that ball just so; harder, softer, loopier, right over there, on that little, annoying electro-brick.

There are, technically, limitations to C-Smash VRS. Its different modes aren’t especially numerous or varied. And it’s restricted to just the one VR headset for now, the PlayStation VR2.

But in all the ways that truly count — in the scope of its vision and the exactness of its play — C-Smash VRS feels closer to limitless. It’s taken me somewhere Novak Djokovic has never been: to infinity and beyond.

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