Videogame / Grim Facade

Grim Facade is a series of hidden object games created by ERS Game Studios and distributed by Big Fish Games. The game tell of a series of detectives solving different mysteries throughout 19th Century Italy and Spain.

The first game, Mystery of Venice, has a detective is hired to find a man's missing wife and daughter. Along the way, the detective is being followed by a masked man, and the police is trying to hide something about the case.

The second game, Sinister Obsessions has the detective being called by the maid of the Conti family to find the murderer on the estate.

The third game, The Cost of Jealousy is set in Spain, and the detective has to find out that someone has been killed and that there's an illicit love triangle surrounding it.

The fourth game, A Wealth of Betrayal, the detective must uncover the reason why Rosa Ramirez stole a sacred sword and unleash the fury of the so called Fire Knight before he sets the city on fire.

The fifth game, The Artist and the Pretender takes place during the Renaissance, where someone is trying to defame famous artist Leonardo DaVinci and convince the villagers to destroy his works.

The sixth game, Hidden Sins has the detective called to the city of Coldstone as the mayor is asking for help to find his wife. Of course that, and the strange being known as The Avenger, is making a blacklist for whomever stands in their way.

The seventh game, Monster in Disguise talks about the capture of a notorious serial killer Bloody Stanley being locked away, yet somehow the murders are still going on. Has someone else been captured by mistake? Is Bloody Stanley still out there? Only you will know the truth.

Tropes present throughout the series include:

  • Private Detective: A staple, of course.
  • Motif: Fans are used as hints.
  • Once an Episode: The games start off with someone sending a letter/calling the detective to meet up with them and explaining the situation of what's going on.
  • Running Gag: Every shopkeeper you meet with starting with Sinister Obsessions has a picture (or pictures) of previous shopkeepers.

Tropes present in Mystery of Venice:

  • Backstory: Redemption was formed after a plague struck Venice in 1104. The Doge lost his son and then blamed the rich for their sins and debauchery for causing the strife. The group then started to kidnap people who they felt personified the seven sins in order to kill off the plague. When the Doge died, a new plague came about and the commoners rebelled against the rulers of Venice and Redemption died out.
    • The bonus chapter adds more backstory. It's said that the Doge tossed a wedding ring from his ship into the waters of Venice, but a curse would fall if it didn't happen annually.
  • Bilingual Bonus: 'Exlibris' is Latin for "from the books". Fitting that it's used as a password to access a secret library.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mask of the masked man isn't just for show. It's the Mask of Anger which is used to reach the final part of the game.
  • City of Canals: It's set in Venice, so this was inevitable.
  • Cool Mask: The masks you collect throughout the game.
  • Cult: Simply known as "Redemption".
  • Darker and Edgier: Aside from Puppetshow and Haunted Halls, Mystery of Venice has a backstory regarding a cult kidnapping people, talk of the seven sins, and the Big Bad seconds away from sacrificing a young maiden.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Not really, considering Mystery of Venice has only a small handful of seen characters and most of them are victims or outright one of the villains, but I don't think anyone fully suspected the police Lieutenant you saw briefly at the midway point of the game being the leader of Redemption.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This game involved kidnapping instead of murders along with the mention of cults and no use of flashbacks at all.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: One that always seems to be one step ahead of the detective, warning them not to get in Redemption's way. He is presumably the man known as Silvio, jealous that the love of his life married someone else.
  • Motif: Masks, which are used for concealment and secrets.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. The reason why the detective is called isn't because they're useless, but rather due to the plague that's affected the city. As it turns out...
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The masked man has these in the Collector's Edition loading screen.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: In order to access a secret alcove, the detective needs to collect masks representing the seven sins. They are (in order): the Mask of Vanity (Pride), the Mask of Envy, Mask of Gluttony, Mask of Lust, Mask of Greed, Mask of Laziness (Sloth), and Mask of Anger (Wrath).
  • Western and Eastern Zodiac: The last puzzle in the bonus chapter involves knowing the symbols for both West and East zodiac.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: The masked man, only seen in the Collector's Edition loading screen.

Tropes present in Sinister Obsessions:

  • The Butler Did It: Maria, the maid of the Conti estate, was the one behind the murders. The Collector's Edition reveals that she killed an upcoming maid and stuffed her into a wine barrel.
  • Heroic Dog: The daschund seen throughout the game becomes pretty helpful. A photo reveals that it's won first-prize in obstacle courses which the detective uses to his advantage.
  • Kick the Dog: Maria, first shown playing with the friendly daschund, fires a bullet that grazes its paw to keep her identity secret.
  • Madness Mantra: At the end of the bonus chapter, you find Maria in an abandoned house muttering, "It's all over" just as she's about to unleash a bomb killing her.
  • Revenge: Maria's main reason for the murders is that her family's estate and grapes were taken away by the family she was working for, and she ended up in an orphanage before applying for a job as the maid.
  • Stuffed In The Fridge: The fates of many of the women found in the game.

Tropes present in The Cost of Jealousy:

  • A Load of Bull: Bulls are present as gate fixtures. Fitting, since the game takes place in Spain.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Mystery of Venice and Sinister Obsessions took place in Italy. The Cost of Jealousy takes place in Spain.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Esmerelda's pet dog has a bright red one, and you give it to the fennel fox later on.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Subverted. In the beta, the flashbacks were all in sepia-tone, while the normal game uses full color.
  • Flashback: Used whenever the detective finds a piece of evidence.
  • Foreshadowing: The strange man following the detective is shown stroking the fennel fox, and earlier on you find a photo of the fennel fox with its master, Hugo. That's because the strange man is Hugo, who killed Carlos and faked his own death.
  • Classical Mythology: A box needs figures of Hades, Zeus and Cerberus to unlock.
  • Love Square: As named by Aidan since Esmerelda was married to Carlos but was having an affair with Hugo who was married with Gabriela. The bonus chapter reveals that Gabriela plotted the entire thing to frame Esmerelda and Hugo so that she could steal Hugo's fortune.
  • Precious Puppy: Esmerelda's white puppy when you first meet her.
  • Psychic Powers: The detective has post-cognition that activates when they touch certain types of evidence.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A fennel fox that you meet every now and then.
  • Romani: The detective finds one who helps locate Esmerelda and Hugo through Esmerelda's earrings.
  • The Watson: Aidan, the detective's assistant.

Tropes found in A Wealth of Betrayal

  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The previous games were all kidnapping cases, but otherwise pretty normal. This one revolves around a legend and a ghostly knight.
  • A Load of Bull: It is set in Spain, after all. There's a bull fight going along, and the detective actually has a pet bull named Ferdinand that the player can take care of.
  • Backstory: Three centuries prior to the game, there was a knight who fell in love with a woman involved in witchcraft. But when the witch was burned at stake, the knight used dark magic in order to exact his vengeance. Then, a local knight came and used it to slay the Fire Knight and the city has been calm ever since.
  • Big Bad: The Fire Knight
  • Burn the Witch!: What happened to the Fire Knight's beloved.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: How the shop-keeper sells items to be used against the Fire Knight.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Rosa seems to have one, which is presumably why she stole the sword in the first place. It's all a sham.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Learning about the paper boy being the ghost in the Bonus Chapter puts most of his dialogue in the main game into perspective.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Sergio wears one due to an accident he had when he was younger. When you see him with both eyes half-way through the game, something is off...
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The cutscene where the detective peeks into the bull fighting ring has glimpses of characters in other ERS games.
  • Happily Adopted: The paper boy is adopted by Sergio and Rosa at the end of the bonus chapter.
  • Kid Sidekick: The paper boy can be seen as this to the detective.
  • Musical Nod: The piano music in the cafe is the same from Azada: In Libro, while another track used is from the Dark Tales series, both made by ERS.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of the Fire Knight.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Butterflies can be used as currency to buy items for the detective's pet bull.
  • Serious Business: The sword used to seal away the Fire Knight is considered a monument, with whoever finding Rosa getting a 1000 Escado reward. Justified in that the Fire Knight is real and how he'll use it to set the town aflame.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: Turns out that the Fire Knight was a scam by Sergio's twin brother in order to obtain the riches from the sapphire mines Sergio recently discovered.
    • In the bonus chapter, the paper boy was the ghost who scared the miners away. It wasn't out of malice, but rather because the mines have become his home and he was afraid that he would be thrown out to the streets.
  • Sweet Tooth: The shop-keeper's cockatoo will only play with you if you hand him a cupcake.
  • Title Drop: "Grim Facade" is the name of the detective agency, as shown by the trophy room.
  • Toros y Flamenco: Emphasized more here than in The Cost of Jealousy.

Tropes found in The Artist and the Pretender

Tropes found in Hidden Sins

  • Backstory: The bonus chapter explains the origins of the Avenger.
  • Cats Are Magic: This is probably the only explanation as to how the alley cat is willing to give up some of its nine lives whenever you die.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The alley cat you partner with always has this on his face.
  • Darker and Edgier: Graphic deaths abound, a corrupt town, the main character dying many times? Yep, that's a formula for a darker game to me.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Your name being plastered upon your headstone counts, right?
  • Kangaroo Court: The only evidence for Albert's trial was a crossbow made by him, and that's enough for the judge to sentence him to death.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The Avenger. Or rather, woman.
  • Revenge: Lisbeth's motivation of killing all the victims is because they took part in a plan by Isaac Morel to frame her love Albert in the murder of the previous mayor.
  • Multiple Endings: You can either have the Avenger kill the mayor or arrest them immediately.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The real identity of the Avenger is Lisbeth, the mayor's wife who was kidnapped in the opening.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: One of the soundtracks from ERS Azada games is played in the bonus chapter...when the Avenger is making their blacklist.
  • Trophy Wife: As Lisbeth put it, she is nothing but a decoration for Isaac's perfect world.
  • Walking Spoiler: Should we remind you of the fact that the detective dies many times throughout the game?
  • Wham Shot: Having the main character wake up to see their headstone pretty much explains how dark the game is gonna get.

Tropes found in Monster in Disguise

  • Continuity Nod: The memory device from Hidden Sins is used here with the one who writes the letter stating that he picked it up from the docks of another town (presumably Coldstone). The alley cat is also shown in the funeral home, the letter even circling in red to take care of it.