The Last Case of Benedict Fox Review – A trail gone cold

Reviewed May 12, 2023 on PC


PC, Xbox Series X|S


April 27, 2023


Rogue Games


PlotTwist Studios

The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a curious mix of genres. Narratively, it is a supernatural mystery with elements of Lovecraftian lore scattered throughout. Gameplay-wise, it’s a Metroidvania with a twist: its focus is on puzzles and secrets instead of enemies and bosses. It’s a striking premise, but unfortunately, the sum of its parts doesn’t measure up to a very memorable experience.

We begin The Last Case of Benedict Fox right in the middle of the action, with the titular Benedict having just located the mansion of his estranged father. But when he arrives, he finds his father already dead and signs of some shady occult business going on. Luckily, Benedict just so happens to have a demon inside his mind he calls the Companion, which allows Benedict to delve within the labyrinthian memories of the recently deceased. This is where the Metroidvania element comes in.

Hidden inside his father’s mind are the secrets Benedict needs to solve the mystery behind his father’s death. If you’ve played any Metroidvania, you’ll be familiar with the kind of exploration and secret-finding to expect: the player starts with only a few abilities, but unlocking more will gain the player access to more areas. It’s a tried and true formula, and it’s fun in Benedict Fox. What makes it different from other Metroidvanias is its puzzle element — instead of a focus on combat and bosses, its focus is on finding secrets and solving puzzles. Or, I think that’s what it is going for, but it only seems to be brave enough to take it half-way. It’s as if the game is split between a classic Metroidvania with combat, crushing difficulty, and bosses, and the puzzle-exploration mystery that would actually suit the game’s narrative.

Don’t even think about playing with keyboard controls; it’s a terribly awkward combination of mouse clicks and buttons I’ve never seen used in an action game before (and probably for good reason). You cannot re-map them. Playing with a controller fixes this issue, but you are still left with combat that is slow, clunky, and unvaried. Benedict has only two methods of attacking to start with: a knife, and a kind of plasma gun that can only be shot once before needing to recharge. You can parry incoming attacks with the Companion, but if you mistime it, the resulting attack is very punishing. You can gain more abilities using the Companion’s eerie tentacles, but the enemies are rarely varied enough to encourage the player from doing anything but spam the knife attack.

The jumping mechanic is really strange too. Instead of just giving you a double jump ability that can be used at will, Benedict can only double jump if there is a nearby surface for the Companion’s tentacles to grab onto. It’s not a bad idea in theory, but in practice it causes jumping to become a chore when the Companion attaches to the wrong part of a surface, causing you to mistime jumps for no good reason.

“The game is split between a classic Metroidvania… and the puzzle-exploration mystery that would actually suit the game’s narrative.”

Ditching these boring encounters could have freed up more of the game to focus on puzzles and mystery. For a title like “The Last Case of Benedict Fox”, Benedict sure does more running, climbing, and fighting than he does sleuthing. The few puzzles that do exist are fun; they perfectly match the eerie theme of secret cults and organisations, but just like the combat, they are not exactly varied since they are mostly based on deciphering the same secret code.

Despite some gripes with the way Benedict controls, The exploration and puzzle-solving are when the game is at its most fun, and I wish so much screentime wasn’t wasted on the combat. The map is vast, but you can teleport to one of the many fast-travel locations anytime you want so backtracking never becomes annoying. I liked finding new areas and collectible objects, and I liked piecing together the mystery of the game piece by piece. Combat was always an unwelcome disruption.

I’m the kind of gamer that can get by on so-so mechanics if there is a good story being told in the meantime. I liked last year’s Card Shark, for instance, despite some frustrations with its controls and gameplay, because the mechanics were in service of an engrossing story. But The Last Case of Benedict Fox doesn’t succeed in the same way. The plot is engaging enough on its own but hardly unique, and its characters are dragged down by bland voice acting that ruins any dramatic tension a scene may have had.

The game’s only standout feature is its art style, which consists of stunning environmental detail and dramatic lighting. Benedict’s surroundings are always chock full of details, with the background seeming to expand for miles behind him with plenty of foreground details too. His father’s memories take the form of twisted mansion halls, ruins and garden plants, office furniture, and more all jumbled together with just the right about of spooky lighting and ambient fog to keep things visually interesting. If only I could interact with it! Some more detective gameplay elements could have married with this art style so much better.

Despite everything, Benedict Fox is still fun when it lets itself be. Once you get a feel for the controls, the gameplay loop of running around and finding new areas may be enough to entertain you for a while, but it’ll hardly leave a lasting impression.




  • Incredibly striking and dramatic art style
  • The puzzle and exploration elements are fun
  • The gameplay concept has potential


  • Combat is clunky and often unsatisfying
  • Movement in general is sluggish
  • Narrative is brought down by bland dialogue and voice acting

The Last Case of Benedict Fox takes a unique concept but doesn’t quite manage to assemble something memorable out of the sum of its parts. A combination of unsatisfying combat and clunky controls makes for a poor metroidvania, and its narrative and puzzle elements are not enough to make up for it. There is some fun to be had here though, and its graphical style certainly makes it easy on the eyes.