Ludum Dare 42: L: An Interactive Mystery

“L: An Interactive Mystery” by Cercle Games (Cullen Vance & Cameron Jackson), Mia Leigh Vance & Sabrina Gross.

“Diane’s daughter has gone missing, and [they have] found her phone. [It is] a race against time, battery, and memory to search for clues about her disappearance, while discovering the intricacies and difficulties of a young life in personal crisis. This experience is part mystery, part puzzle, and part [slice of life.]”


Teenagers running away from home is not that uncommon. The motives for this can vary: They may feel constrained by their parents, the pressure to perform at school is too high for them or they have problems with their friends from whom they want to run away. “L: An Interactive Mystery” is about a mother named Diane, who has to search for the current whereabouts of her missing daughter Ellen on the daughter’s cellphone.

However, the phone has been damaged, which caused the battery to be unchargable. Accordingly, Diane runs slowly, but surely out of time. Since the cell phone memory is extremely small, she has to delete some files in order to install other apps and get access to them, which in turn may contain evidence of Ellen’s well-being. But uninstalling and installing the apps drops the battery.

This way, the voicemails on Ellen’s phone can be intercepted, Diane can read through her messages, messenger texts and emails, listen to her daughter’s favorite podcasts or scroll through her Pictogram account. Through all these fragments a coherent story builds up, its narrative is surpassed only by the outstanding voice acting. The performance for the different characters in “L: An Interactive Mystery” feels extremely professional to me, making Diane’s grief and the quirkiness of Zee, Ellen’s girlfriend, but also her despair even more relatable. >>PLAY

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