A hidden object mystery that will immerse casual players into the thrilling exploits of famous mystery novelist Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett.
User reviews: Mixed (62 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 9, 2013
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Packages that include this game

Buy Sinister Stories Bundle

Includes 8 items: Alex Hunter - Lord of the Mind Platinum Edition, Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome Collector's Edition, Castle: Never Judge a Book by its Cover, House of 1,000 Doors - Family Secrets, House of 1000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster Collector's Edition, Nearwood - Collector's Edition, Shadows: Price For Our Sins Bonus Edition, Small Town Terrors Pilgrim's Hook Collector's Edition

 

Reviews

“Incredibly interesting who-dun-it storyline. Character artwork is nicely done. Lots of puzzle variety.”
4/5 – Gamezebo

About This Game

Castle: Never Judge a Book by its Cover is an investigative adventure game that will immerse casual players into the thrilling exploits of famous mystery novelist Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett. Over the span of five chapters the player will be tasked with finding evidence, tracking down suspects, and uncovering the truth behind the copycat killer responsible for staging murder scenes depicted in his novels.



Features
  • Interact with actual characters from the TV show.
  • First-rate visuals, dynamic sounds and immersive gameplay.
  • Adventure style navigation and interaction.
  • Persistent inventory with collectable items and usage puzzles.
  • 15 unique hidden object scenes and 15 unique puzzles.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, Windows® 7, Windows® 8
    • Processor: Intel® Pentium® processor (or equivalent AMD processor) 500MHz or faster
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX® compatible 16-bit video card with 16MB VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0a
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX® compatible sound card
    Minimum:
    • OS: Macintosh® OS X 10.6 – 10.9
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ Duo processor 1.0GHz or faster
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 64MB VRAM
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: The supported language for Castle on MAC OS X is only English.
Helpful customer reviews
18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
Having clicked 'No', I will add the proviso that I WOULD recommend 'Castle: Never Judge a Book by its Cover', but ONLY to fans of the 'Castle' TV series! Anyone else should probably avoid.

Whilst I enjoyed the game, that was primarily because, as a fan, I recognised the in-jokes to some of the episodes of the series and the faithfully recreated scenes from the sets of the show.

The gameplay itself is a bit lacklustre. Most of the game is spent playing the missing objects mechanic whereby you pick out a small list of items from a large screen full of stuff. A bit 'Where's Waldo', but fine, although this does get tedious rather fast. Of more promise are the many little logic puzzle games which are many and varied - most are familiar and simple, but some are a bit more challanging. The only downside to these logic puzzles is that the 'Hint' mechanic allows you to completely skip the games, thus rendering them utterly pointless.

And here we get to the big drawback to this game: the 'Hint' mechanic. In most games where hints are given, usually you get actual 'hints' to what to do, but leaving you to continue to work things out. In 'C:NJaNbiC' the 'Hint' machinic leads you around by the hand. Not sure what you should be doing? 'Hint' Go here, do this. Can't solve this puzzle mini-game? 'Hint' Solved. Really, the button should be labelled 'Bored Now' or 'Too Lazy'.

I bought the game with the understanding that there would be no animations, just still scenes, but I was disappointed that there was NO actual voice-acting at all. The entire game takes place in virtual silence, with some barely adequate, low-key synth music to fill the void of all the text boxes as the characters 'talk'. This is a real shame since the game is based on the 'Castle' TV show which has characters with distinct and charming voices, so why not get them doing some voice acting for the game? And the synth music is hardly inkeeping with the music used throughout the TV series, which is chock full of funky current music tracks. I guess the licensing costs too much?

As already mentioned, there were no animations, it was all character portraits and still scene imagery, but the game would certainly have benefited from animated characters and backdrops. But hey, costs, what can you do?

And finally, lets mention length. It's short. I played it through in 4 hours, and that was by doing ALL the puzzles. If I skipped through all the ones I had trouble with, that time would probably have been halved. Considering that the game is made without animation or sound content, could they perhaps not have made futher episodic iterations with new games or mechanics to it? Shame, as that might have made it worth the money, to have further stories to work through, like actually playing a season of 'Castle', with themes continued in subsequent episodes. That would at least have given the game a lift in it's simplistic and obvious storytelling.

Which leads me to what is probably the biggest issue I had with the game: the story. Without spoiling it, I will say that it was obivous from very early on what the situation was and who the killer was - Ok, so that reguarly occurs in episodes of the show where you can guess who-dunnit, but the story doesn't do anything clever with it, and comes to a boring and obvious conclusion. For a game based on a TV series with pretty decent storylines, and featuring a professional Author, it commits the ultimate sin of 'poor story telling', and that's the final nail in the coffin.

To summarise: the game has some fun little puzzles and recognisable scenes/characters from the TV series, but lack of good sound, animation and poor storytelling make it very bland, and the short, limited story is too brief, with no hope of any kind of replayability. For a casual game, it's... Okay. Ish. For a point & click game, it's... Poor.

One to avoid.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 24
Pros:

+ nice artwork
+ twisted plot
+ good puzzles (most of them)
+ simple interface

Cons:

- repetitive and boring music
- lack of voices
- disappointing ending
- bugs (some texts extend beyond established area)

One word review: Acceptable

6,5/10
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 19
Despite its title, the cover doesn't lie in this case: here we have a standard point'n'click detective game, not a bad one but in no way contributing something new to the genre. Written, designed and soundtracked well enough; features a good deal of hidden objects scenes and puzzles, though they are rather stereotyped, and a piece of literature and science education. Can be recommended for the fans of said TV show and/or point'n'click enthusiasts, for whom there are an evening or two of the criminal investigations; if usually it's not your cup of tea, then better miss it as there are better examples of the genre for non-dedicated players.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 1, 2014
Hidden object + some adventure elements. This one is a mystery story. Entertaining game. No unlimited hidden object mode or bonus chapters. Puzzles are similar to those in other hidden object hybrid games.

One small gripe is that if you are trying to read some text, like a journal, it automatically goes away after a few seconds as it considers it timed out. You can reopen it but may need to do this a couple times for lengthier texts.
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2014
Castle is this crime drama TV show on ABC that's been running for several seasons. It follows mystery novelist turned investigator Richard Castle and homicide detective Kate Beckett.
Apparently it's pretty popular and has won many awards.

I've never seen it. I can't even remember the last time I watched network television. Nowadays I just netflix everything.
It's kinda weird that I decided to play through this game then. This feeling of weirdness isn't helped by just how bleah the direction of this game is. Licensed games are a crapshoot. Usually they're trash or have little to do with whatever it is they're licensing. NJABBIC is the latter.

Like I said earlier, I've never seen the TV show, but I'm going to assume that it has capable writers that help bring the characters to life. Everyone in this game has cookie-cutter dialogue, most of the jokes are stuff you've read/heard too many times, and there's just no personality. Even the sub-title of this game makes me feel a little ill. Never Judge a Book by its Cover? Oh... Castle is a novelist..so books..covers..There is a mystery and...BARF.

Aesthetically, the game isn't much better. The technology is available, but I think more effort was spent on having the characters only slightly resemble their real-life counterparts. Also no matter the situation, everyone has the same facial expression. People are getting murdered and all of the characters have this perpetual smirk. "Look at me! I'm so smug! I'm solving a murder mystery!" The TV show is apparently really good, but this game gives a really bad impression. To be fair the mystery itself is actually pretty decent. It could be the plot for a solid two-parter.

This is probably my first foray into the hidden-object/puzzle genre. This resulted in even more weird feelings than originally thought possible. In the very beginning of the game, Castle has to collect some stuff from his den. I walk in and it is the biggest mess imaginable. He's got gloves, shoes, watches, belts, horses, cats, dogs, fruit, vegetables, and all sorts of other crap just lying around. I go somewhere else and it's the same damn thing. Apparently that's normal for the genre? Wow. It's pretty entertaining finding all the hidden stuff, but the massive leaps in logic is...normal for the adventure games I grew up with.

This game is a master-class in "adventure game logic". Everything you pick up is used once and then discarded, even if it could be useful in the future (like a screwdriver). Instead Castle will find another object that achieves similar results. Some of these puzzles are laughable in their absurdity, like everyday houses having strange locks that require intricate jewelry or random objects. This is some Resident Evil-level ridiculousness. If you ever stop to think about what you're doing in this game, your head is liable to explode.

SPOILERS
At one point you have to get some tongs that have fallen in a hot grill.
-Don't ask how the tongs got under the grates.
-You have to cool off the grill to get the tongs.
-This grill is located on a porch, but you can't use a water hose.
-You have to buy a soda from a machine located in a storage facility.
-Castle is a successful author who lives in a loft in New York City. His rent must be over $10,000 a month. He doesn't have $2 to buy a soda.
-He has to solve puzzles to find $2.
-WHAT THE ♥♥♥♥?

Thankfully, there aren't any ways to totally screw yourself. In other words, there is nothing you can do that would result in an un-winnable game. If you get truly stuck you can access a handy skip button.

Finally there are the logic puzzles. No hidden objects, no finding things to open other things, it's just you and a puzzle. The puzzles in this game are all pretty good, although a couple of them (wires) it's much faster just to solve via process of elimination.

That's the extent of the game really. If you're a fan of the show, don't expect to enjoy this game more than a non-fan. It's possible you might even enjoy it a little less, just because of how poorly-written the characters are. Still, if you happened to acquire this game via a bundle and have a couple afternoons to kill, it's not bad at all.
Now I'm tempted to go through my Steam library and see if I own any other Hidden Object/Puzzle games.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
I thought a previous game by these guys was a lot of fun ("Small Town Terrors: Pilgrim's Hook Collector's Edition"), but this one's pretty bad. You have to do every hidden object sequence twice within a single playthrough (often minutes after the first time), the controls felt picky at times (leading me to think I was trying to use the wrong item when I wasn't), and a good portion of the puzzles weren't fun; they were chores. If you like the show, you'll likely be disappointed. Characters do other characters' jobs, or do things none of them should do. Too much of it simply didn't make sense for the franchise.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
Short version: 71%
A gripping serial murder story featuring characters of a television show in the form of a hidden object game, which strangely has no voice acting in it.

Long version:
When a television series is adapted to a video game, there is always a chance to get some incredibly shoddy cash-in title, or something with an actual effort in it. Never Judge a Book by Its Cover is somewhere between the two.

As a crime story, it is exceptionally well-written with good pacing, good setup, and it knows when to stop before it gets ridiculously overcomplicated. But why is it sold as a Castle game, I have no idea. It has no voice acting, theme song, or anything really related to the show.

As a game it is a mediocre hidden object puzzle title with gorgeous, yet overcrowded scenes, and long and frustrating puzzles. But it’s the point ‘n’ click part that kills it: adventure game logic takes over every last shred of realism, which stands in stark contrast of what is seen in the original show.

Still, if you like hidden object games, or just want something related to the Castle series and already read all the books, this one may be a nice afternoon pastime.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
Do you like Castle? Do you like murder mysteries? Or maybe hard puzzles, decent art, and a generic but decent plot? Then this game is for you!

I'll admit I was missing a level on this simply by never having watched the TV series, and never intending to. On a 1 to 10 scale, this was a solid 7, slightly brought down by it's steeper than average difficulty curve on its puzzles. Not majorly so, but definitely overall they tended to be on the challenging side.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
You definetly shouldn't judge this as being a bad game because it's based on a TV show. If you do, then you will be missing out on a decent and worthwhile game. It's essentially a point and click game with a bit of hidden object finding thrown in. While the game isn't voice acted and all dialogue is displayed via text, the writing is solid enough that the game doesn't suffer for it.

The puzzles are what let it down a little bit though, there is one puzzle where the solution doesn't match the clue at all (it should be a number 1,3,5 or 7 but it is a 2 which is not one of the numbers listed, and there are a couple of puzzles where the description could have used tightening up as while I techinically had a correct solution to the puzzle, the developer had a different solution in mind. Thankfully there is a skip button so these puzzles can be solved.

Outside of that a couple of times the object you needed to progress could have been a little better layed out (for example you use a paint roller to haul in a boat...which based on the scene wouldn't really reach.

Minor gripes aside I got a solid 4 to 5 hours out of it and enjoyed the story and gameplay overall.
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25 of 27 people (93%) found this review helpful
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 16, 2014
I received the gift of Castle: Never Judge a Book by its Cover, from my husband a few days ago. (Thank you, Love.) I set to work playing it last night and into the early hours of today. I had a blast with it. For starters, I am a huge fan of the TV series, and have loved the Mystery & Classic genres as a whole for many years. So in this case, I got to have my cake and eat it too.

The game does a great job of capturing the essence of the show, from Castle and Kate's respective apartments, the Police Precinct, Morgue, and various other locations along the way, right down to the charming banter of all the cast of characters that we've come to know and love. The plot, storyline, and script are solid, and actually quite believable as the tale progresses and unfolds. The hidden objects are well placed, puzzles are well thought out, and if you get stuck at any point in time, there are helpful hints, skips, and maps to get you back on track.

If you have just randomly come upon this title, and don't know anything about the source material, fear not! I think there is enough well done mystery here to keep you intrigued.

The gameplay has NO BUGS that I could find, which is outstanding in and of itself! It also has very few faults, if you even want to call them faults... The music scores/themes are well done. However, they can get a bit distacting after awhile, especially when working on some of the harder puzzles. Simply turndown the volume controls if it seems off putting. The only thing that would have made the game an out of the world experience for me, would have been to have the stars lend their voices to their character counterparts. That being said, I have to congratulate the powers that be, for not giving us any vocals at all, if the original cast was unavailable or the cost to high....

Simply put this game is fun, intelligent and wrapped in a Castle ribbon.
Well done!
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27 of 32 people (84%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2014
Make no mistake. This is a hidden picture game. If those are your cup of tea and you love Castle, then this game is for you. Great work on getting my interest in a genre that normally does not have it. Thanks a lot.

For those who are not familiar with the show, it features a novelist who teams up with the cops to solve murders as an inspiration for his novels. It is hard to resist his charm as Nathan Fillian oozes with it, even in his video game likeness, which the developers managed to capture quite well.
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15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2014
It wasn't till today i realized Castle had a game! I was really excited and decided to buy the game at the first chance i got. I was blown away by the characters and the story plot. It was such a twist! Really enjoyed it! Better than i expect it! Music may repeat itself from time to time entering a new cast but you can overcome that, So far best crime solving game ever! #CaskettAlways
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14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 2, 2014
While it's an hidden object game, it plays more like the classic P&C adventures, with a lot of backtracking between the scenes and weird logics that one should follow in order to unlock the puzzles. Story is well written, animation is decent. The only thing lacking in quality is music, but that is easily solved by opening this page in your browser http://www.listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=OdVawImj_oE in the background. All in all, it's just like a good episode of Castle, with Rick proclaiming "I've got it!" just after you realize who the killer actually is.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 12, 2014
I just finished this game and I've got to admit that it was a fun game.
The puzzle can be challenging but there is always a way to solve them.
The story was exactly as you would expect from an episode of the tv series.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 24, 2014
Bought during the sale and I am glad I did. As a big fan of the show, this kept me entertained (and frustrated in a few spots) for many hours. The story was engaging and I liked the style. The only things that bothered me are that, like a lot of seek and find type games, it can get a bit repetative and some of the puzzles were mind-numbingly hard. Otherwise a fun game and worth buying if you like the game style.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 29, 2014
This game went down way too fast and I purposely played through this slowly. I like hidden object games and this one did not dissapoint. Some of the puzzles were bizzare but the story made up for it. I have only watched enough of the show to know Castle is not a cop but a writer and the game was still good casual fun. Get it on sale and enjoy it for what it is. I'd love to see a new chapter to download or new story arc that would be nice.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 23, 2014
I'm on the fence about whether to recommend this game, or not. (i.e. Yes, with caveats)

Playing this game with no awareness previously that there even was a TV show called Castle probably meant that I missed a lot of the inside jokes/character interplay. On the other hand, the game was constantly offering to skip dialogue so maybe the game designers didn't consider it to be of high value either.

In general, this is a Hidden Objects game. It's dead center in the middle of the genre, playing a lot like a PC Adventure game but with a lot more backtracking and one shot objects to solve specific situations. It was OK as a Hidden Object game. (Lots of chaotic jumbled scenes, very few AHA! moments when I suddenly recognized new patterns.) The puzzles were either fairly simple/straightforward, or extremely tedius where a monkey could solve them, given sufficient persistance and ability to randomly click. Luckily there was the SKIP/Hint feature in the tedious cases.

The overall plot was very interesting; but the game had some specific irritant gotchas (for me at least), such as allowing us to use a potentially contaminated Q-tip swap from a crime scene as part of DNA lap work for a different piece of evidence. There were several instances where it felt like they were trying to play with the lab equipment, but it didn't really add to the overall plot. (Possibly a reference from the TV show I'm unaware of.) I really enjoyed the Literatured Themed Murders (Hard Back Killer), but very quickly all the details blurred together and I didn't see how the selected quotes, etc. really added much. (As demonstrated when they summarized them out of existence on the Evidence board.)

Final Score: 3/5 Stars.

I would definitely recommend other Hidden Object games ahead of this one. It felt like this was a product bundle with a known franchise with an OK game. Don't buy this one for $10.

P.S. I did enjoy the fact that you could view your Hidden Objects search list by both English name, and by visual Silhouette. (I rarely used this feature, but this is the first gave where I've seen it.)
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8 of 15 people (53%) found this review helpful
7.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 8, 2014
This game went awfully quickly. It is just a point and click puzzle game attached to the Castle name to sell. The Room, Two, is by far a better choice for cheaper, and is the same thing, but way better.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2014
I'm not really a point and click adventure kind of gamer, and I'm not really that into the find the item type games - but fortunately this game goes a little bit further and you do have to do a little thinking. It's not as brain taxing as I'd like, but then neither is Castle ;-)
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 28, 2014
For what it is, it kept me engaged during all of the gameplay. There are a few puzzles that are frustratingly random (there's no logic to their solutions, it's all trial and error), but the option to skip these puzzles was really nice. The atmosphere reminded me a lot of the silliness of the show, and it was just an easy, simple game to play.
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