Judge, Jury & Executioner
On paper, Femida is an interesting court-room simulator with a lot of potential for growth. It’s a game that takes the best elements of titles like L.A. Noire and Papers, Please and blends them together into a non-linear court-room simulator with you acting as the Judge, Jury and (in some of the more extreme cases) executioner.
There’s a good amount of material here and the point and click nature of the game allows for some really engrossing roleplaying to take place in this. Unfortunately, the execution is a little disappointing.
With a plethora of spelling errors, a few bugs and a lack of meaty feedback following each case, Femida is a title with potential but in its current state feels pretty underwhelming which is a shame.
At the time of release, Femida has a fair few cases to tackle, with an overarching story around that seeing you take control of a new Judge called Daemon Mardoch. This man arrives in town after leaving his family behind to enter the cut-throat world of politics and law and order. Most of this story is reserved for the moments between cases, where you write letters and send money back home updating your wife on how things are going.
To be honest, this story plays second fiddle to the cases themselves that play out in the aftermath of a violent revolution, with the capital needing some fresh blood to get things in order.
How you approach these are completely up to you, with the cases all following a pretty familiar set of gameplay beats. A case overview is presented as you arrive in your office, with tick boxes to select how you want to gain evidence. The options range from recklessly arresting all suspects, wire-tapping phones and even interviewing witnesses who may be nearby. How many of these you choose to pursue and how aggressively you carry them out are completely up to you but the game does advise not to select every box.
From here it’s on to the courtroom itself which allows you to bring important people to the bench to hear their testimonies and press them for more details. Successful tasks give more judiciary and public arrest points, which in turn build up toward 4-7 different endings that present themselves at the end of the game depending on how you’ve played up until that point.
This open-ended structure does allow for some good replayability but whether you’ll go back through this a second or third time after your 2-3 hours with this one remains to be seen.
Femida is a game with some big problems that are hard to look past. There are constant spelling and grammatical issues littered right the way through the game that do detract from the enjoyment. Everything from out of place commas, words misspelt or even incorrect phrasing hinders the title and at times it can feel like every scene has an error of some sort. For a game so heavy on text, one or two misplaced words would be fine but the sheer number here feels pretty inexcusable.
There are a couple of gameplay loops that lock you into certain phrases, and the tension meter in the court-room can catch you out if you’re not paying attention, with a delayed audio response and a sporadic meter that relies heavily on you slamming the gavel down repeatedly.
If you’ve ever fancied being a Judge and laying down the law, Femida is a good enough simulator that does scratch that itch but it’s also a title held back by its issues that are hard to look past. It’s certainly worth a play but given the number of grammatical issues and a lack of feedback between cases, Femida is a good foundation to build on but based on its release version, is a game that feels more disappointing than it should be.