Pop culture has had no shortage of monster, ghost, and demon hunters in recent years, but where do the spirits turn when there’s something strange in their neighborhood? The answer, according to indie developer Zmakesgames, is the stars of The Case of Maneki, due for release later this year.
The game takes place in the world of the yōkai, spirits from Japanese folklore who here appear to have their own thriving society. Kichiro Hashimoto is a Maneki-Neko (“lucky cat”), a type of yōkai “who grants good fortune to all who are close to them.” He’s the apprentice to Nobutoshi, a detective who may be more than he seems. Playing as both apprentice and master, it falls to you to “find the truth that is hidden between a series of gruesome murders” as you “work with allies to solve the case and learn who is behind it all.”
Presented like a retro-styled RPG with its pixel art and bird’s-eye view, The Case of Maneki tasks you with talking to witnesses, scanning photographs, and even examining the bodies of victims as you search for clues. You’ll “explore different worlds and learn about each of their cultures,” meeting many different types of yōkai along the way, including the fiery Onibi and the talkative Radish Spirits. Fortunately, a case file full of notes and drawings will fill in as you progress to help you keep track of your investigation.
The developer currently plans to release the game later this year, with a target launch date set for December 1st on Steam for Windows PC.