The player has to investigate different crime scenes for each new case they receive. At the crime scene, the player is given a list of the collectable objects they have to find scattered throughout the area. After finding the object, the player must click on it to collect it. Greater scores are awarded for solving the scene quickly; however, multiple and quick miss-clicking (clicking on items that are not listed or on the background) will cause a 3-second time penalty during which the player cannot do anything. Important pieces of evidence which lead the player further in the investigation are also obtained at crime scenes.
Also at the end of every crime scene investigation, the player receives a final score depending on how fast they cleared the scene. The final score contributes to a cumulative star rating for the stage. Stars are used to advance through the game's story. A maximum of five stars can be earned for a single crime scene. Earning five stars in all crime scenes of a case gets the player a Gold Medal.
Playing crime scenes require 20 energy points at each "go". However, an all-starred crime scene (a crime scene in which the player has earned all five stars) requires 5 energy points only. Happy Hours can reduce the energy needed to 15, 10, or 0.
There are also bonus scenes in every single case. Bonus scenes allow the player to earn more stars in a case, and are unlocked individually after certain amounts of stars are acquired. There are three different types of bonus scenes, as described in the following.
- Puzzle: A puzzle-style hidden object scene that must be unscrambled.
- Time Attack: A hidden object scene in which the player must find and collect as many objects as they can in a given period of time.
- Differences: The player must find a set number of differences between two otherwise similar scenes.
All cases have six crime scenes (i.e., excluding the bonus scenes), with the exception of The Death of Rosa Wolf, Welcome to Pacific Bay, The Murder of Amanda Love and The Murder of Mrs Stanbury, which feature two crime scenes each, and Corpse in a Garden, which features four.
Although the game is primarily a single-player affair, each crime scene has a leaderboard, and the player may choose a "partner" from their list of "teammates" (friends who also play Criminal Case and are "recruited" to the player's team) to join the investigation of each scene and provide hint bonuses.
|V • T • EGameplay in Criminal Case|