Cause of Death is, surprisingly, a risk-taker. It doesn’t shy away from gritty, twisted violence and harsh dialog. Surviving High School, by the same developers, may have been lighthearted fun, but they’ve taken a dark turn with Cause of Death.
Cause of Death comes pre-loaded with the first chapter of a story in which you follow the tracks of a mysterious man dubbed ‘The Maskmaker.’ His crime? Kidnapping young women and making masks out of their faces. Detective Mal Fallon and Special Agent Natara Williams, both of whom are dealing with troubled pasts, are sent to find out who this mysterious man is. Expect many twists along the way, and a lot of intense moments.
I bet you say that to all the girls.
The coolest storytelling element in the game is that you’ll constantly be playing as different characters, whether it’s an agent, the victim being attacked, or others. There are even flashbacks to past events, where you get to see the development of the mask-making maniac.
The soundtrack for Cause of Death really surprised us. It constantly changes to fit the transpiring events, and can quickly alter the mood from frantic to calm. When you have to make a decision against a ticking timer and there are intense riffs playing in the background, it really puts you in the moment. Trust us: You simply won’t be able to put down your iPhone when the action kicks in.
Shoot the hostage!
Cause of Death’s greatest storytelling flaw, however, is that it labels decisions as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ far too often. For example, choosing the correct decision brings up your detective score. If you have a score of 500 out of 600 by the end of the first chapter, you’ll see some bonus scenes that seem important to the development of further plot lines.
One wrong choice, though, might kill your character and force you to restart at the last checkpoint. For a game based around player choices, this is a pretty big drawback.
The first chapter of the series lasts about two hours, which mostly kept us tied to our iPhones. Beyond this, you can download other episodes as in-app purchases for a dollar each. If you don’t feel like paying, you can still play the current week’s episode with the occasional pop-up ad. The sooner you come in, the more free episodes you get.
There isn’t much else to say about Cause of Death that won’t spoil the fun of unraveling the gripping cases found inside. If you never miss an episode of CSI or Law and Order, you won’t want to miss out on this one.