Generally TV, comic and movie adaptations are terrible, especially on the mobile platforms. Rather surprisingly, the CSI franchise translated rather well, presumably thanks to the techno-vignette structure of the TV episodes falling neatly in line with the notion of mini-game collections.
And that’s precisely what CSI Miami: Episode 2 is – a string of small, considered mini-games designed to represent the detection methods used by Maimi’s finest forensics fellows. This is a gameplay style that’s traditionally quite hit and miss, but Gameloft has handled them well and blended the games with the stories to craft an interactive version of the show.
The game is essentially broken down into two episodes of CSI, requiring you to find the scientific truth behind an apparently accidental motorbike crash and the mysterious murder of a wealthy music producer. Both stories could have come from the show itself (for all we know, they did), which speaks volumes about the quality of the plot you can expect.
Your task is to investigate each scene, working through the evidence using a host of forensic methods and tools all cleverly re-engineered around basic, varied gameplay mechanics. Handheld scanners and DNA identification are prime examples of how simple, popular match-three and hidden object games can be brought to life by fresh, imaginative application.
If there’s a downside to this excellent reproduction of the show’s DNA, it’s that the games are just as linear. This isn’t a problem on TV, but it does no favours for a game’s longevity.
There’s no real way to follow an investigation through a sandbox, leaving you to move directly from scene to scene in a very one-dimensional manner. This makes the first play through exciting and invigorating, and you’ll definitely struggle to put the game down until the truth has been uncovered. Naturally you know exactly what’s coming, and in what order, in the second play, and it’s gleaming lustre is significantly reduced.
That’s no reason not to pick up CSI Miami: Episode 2 for your mobile, however. It’s a superb experience for fans of the show, and for mobile gamers who like a strong plot and a lot of variety in their games. You just might have to wait a week or two between games to try and keep your interest engaged.