While investigating a series of bizarre murders in Europe, Jack Lorski and Karen Gijman mysteriously stop sending in reports. When SKL Networks receives a CD-ROM containing a series of disturbing reports and footage made by one of their reporters, Jack Lorski, as well as messages and puzzles from someone calling themselves "The Phoenix," they issue a plea to the public for help finding their missing reporters. Only by solving Phoenix's puzzles and progressing through a series of "disciple" stages broken into the four alchemical elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, can the player uncover the fate of Jack and Karen.
Gameplay consits of solving puzzles which are broken down into stages containing a series of puzzles that can be tackled in any order. Every puzzle must be completed in a stage to progress to the next stage. The puzzles are mostly solved by searching the internet to find fake websites, set up for the game, that contain clues and solutions. The game requires the player to provide an email address to the fictional SKL Networks through which they receive emails from SKL as well as other characters over the course of the game. These emails often contain clues and tools to help the player. If the player takes a long time working on a puzzles solution, they may be emailed the solution by one of the fictional characters. Other puzzles include hand-eye coordination games, audio puzzles, and video analysis. Competing a puzzle rewards the player with a video either from a video diary that Jack had been keeping over the course of the investigation, or a video shown from the perspective of The Phoenix.
Missing Since January's unique faux reality/thriller style received overall positive reviews from critics. An average rating of 75 puts it as an above average title. In addition to the positive reviews, several websites and magazines including Computer Gaming World awarded MISSING with the Adventure Game of the Year. The positive reception lead the series to continue with MISSING: Game of the Year Edition and an expansion: MISSING: The 13th Victim.
- 333 MHz Intel Pentium II or AMD Equivalent CPU
- 128 MB RAM
- 16x CD/DVD-ROM drive
- 700 MB hard disk space
- DirectX compatible graphics card
- DirectX compatible sound card