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Video Game / Scrutinized

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Scrutinized is a 2020 horror game developed by Reflect Studios, who previously brought us Rides With Strangers, Welcome to the Game, and Welcome to the Game II.

A Spiritual Successor to the Welcome to the Game saga, Scrutinized is all about searching the internet while passively defending your house from home invaders. Instead of scouring The Deep Web for Red Room links, the player is doing background checks on crime suspects and judging if they're guilty or not. This is all in the hope that the protagonist, Luna Youngman, finds the identity of the Blueblood Killer.

Think Five Nights at Freddy's meets Papers, Please.


The game provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Home invaders, the deaths of loved ones, sex trafficking. These are all very real fears.
  • Affably Evil: Aside from trying to break into your house and drug you, Tanner is a pretty polite and affable guy. So much so that he gives Luna an extensive file containing info on the Blueblood Killer out of respect for her tireless crusade against him (after drugging and kidnapping her of course).
  • Bait-and-Switch: Most suspects are innocent, and were reported due to simple misunderstandings. Scrutinizing their private information will often turn up the sort of strange stuff humans living in a free society can get up to, but not anything actually malicious. Very few suspects are actual dangerous criminals that warrant further investigation, which keeps the player on their toes when judging them.
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  • Bald of Evil: With his unmasking, the Kidnapper is revealed to have his head shaven. He doesn't even have eyebrows.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Kidnapper, who hasn't been seen since 2016's Welcome to the Game.
  • Canon Welding: Word of God confirmed that Scrutinized, Welcome to the Game, and Rides With Strangers are all in the same universe. This is made especially clear by the Kidnapper returning and Tanner being an associate of Adam’s.
  • Cop Killer: The Blueblood Killer's M.O. He specifically targets cops and investigators like the Youngmans.
  • Darkness Equals Death: The Kidnapper and Tanner only attack under the cover of darkness, so it's essential to keep your lights on. It's a shame they flicker so much.
  • Deadly Doctor: While it's never confirmed that Tanner is one, his proficiency with stabbing people with syringes and his penchant for prowling on people in a lab coat surely suggests so.
  • Determinator: Even more so than in the previous games. This time, not only the villains will keep pestering Luna until the break of dawn (even going as far as getting Luna in her sleep, if she is not careful), they will keep coming back and keep trying! Justified in the case of Tanner, who is very clearly stalking Luna specifically and will even Mercy Lead her more than once as part of his cat-and-mouse game. Not so much for the Kidnapper, who ideally should be Only in It for the Money and could very well target another easier prey.
  • Dirty Coward: Both the Kidnapper and Tanner. If Luna catches them in the act of trying to break into her house, they'll run off. They only attack her when they can safely take her by surprise.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Completing the game on Casual mode rewards you with the "Shit Ending", a colorfully-changing screen that says you've won and you're now ready for Normal difficulty.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Quite literally. Luna's home has bad wiring, so her lights are always flickering. This gives home invaders a great hiding place.
  • Exposition Dump: The opening cutscene is no less than seven minutes long, of nonstop narration explaining the game's setup.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Averted. Unlike the previous Welcome to the Game protagonists, Luna has a voice, face, and personality.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Like in Welcome to the Game II, hacking into other people's devices is a vital mechanic in the game. In Scrutinized, it's to break into suspects' phones for their secrets and determine if they're a criminal or not.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Implied with Tanner, during one of his game over animations, he tackles Luna and drugs her, as she loses consciousness he states "I can't wait to taste you." However, this can have...*ahem*...a different meaning.
  • Instant Sedation: The way Tanner deals with Luna. Whatever it's really sedating her, rather than going for the kill with poison, it's uncertain. However the fact that Tanner appears to be some kind of doctor suggest that he may be able to do both things just as easily (as demonstrated in the ending).
  • Jump Scare: Game-over animations are typically this. However, uniquely, jumpscares can actually be turned off.
  • Laughably Evil: Unlike the other Reflect Studios antagonists, Tanner is downright playful, jumping around and taunting the player with jazz hands in one of his jumpscares.
  • Mad Doctor: Tanner. Labcoat? Check. Syringe? Check. Ax-Crazy? Check.
  • Monster Misogyny: The Kidnapper exclusively preys on women. However, this might be out of pragmatism than personal sexism. It's an unfortunate fact that women make for the most popular sex slaves.
  • Never Mess with Granny: One of the reports Luna investigates deals with someone's suspicions that an elderly lady in the neighborhood may be abducting children. She's not, but if the player does enough digging, they will find out she is in fact a dangerous drug dealer.
  • Nintendo Hard: The hardest Reflect Studios title by far.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: The Russian, compared to Tanner. He is dressed in all black, will approach Luna's house from the safety of a dark room, and once he gets in, he immediately goes to Luna and subdues her. Tanner, on the other hand, is dressed in a sparkling white lab coat, will attack Luna's house by running straight under the cameras and more importantly, will taunt Luna by letting her know he's hiding in a closet and will leave the house without disturbing her if she won't check it.
  • Playing with Syringes: Tanner kills the player by stabbing them with a syringe. Maybe it's a deadly poison, or maybe it's just an air bubble.
    • The ending reveals that it's Midazolam, an anaesthetic drug.
  • Police Are Useless: In respect of, what should at this point, be a very well known custom for the characters of the Crapsack World of Reflect Studios, Luna will never try to call the police on her stalkers nor the stalkers will assume she could and decide to stop coming back to her.
  • Serial Killer: The Blueblood Killer. The intro states his body-count is in the double digits. Also Tanner.
  • Sibling Team: Though they're biologically cousins, the relationship between Luna and Sarah was very sisterly. And they were both good law enforcement officers together, Sarah a cop and Luna a criminal investigator.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Let's review the names of the previous killers in the series. The Kidnapper. The Breather. The Hitman. Noir. The Executioner. The Doll Maker. And now... Tanner. Just Tanner.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Luna laments that, of all the dirty cops in the world, the Blueblood Killer happened to choose one of the few good cops to kill, Sarah.
  • Violation of Common Sense: If Tanner gets in the house and taunts Luna by waving at her from the hall, the thing to do to save your life is simply ignore the psycho and continue with the investigation. He will leave eventually.
  • Weakened by the Light: A mundane version. Tanner will abort his approach of the house if you turn the smartlights on.
  • Worthy Opponent: Tanner comes to see Luna as this.
  • You Killed My Father: Luna's investigations into the Blueblood Killer started out as professional. But it became personal when he killed her cousin, Sarah.

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