Dealspwn Rating: 6/10
Platform: PS3 (on PSN only)
Developer: Relentless Software
Publisher: Relentless Software
These are the final three episodes of the murder mystery / puzzle game. Solving random puzzles involving maths, logic and common sense helps bring you one step closer to finding the perpetrator of that episodes crime, with the episodes linking together for the grand finale.
For those of you not familiar with the series you can pick up a bundle with all six episodes for £19.99 on the PSN. You play as one of four detectives (another three people can play along too) from the Blue Toad Agency. As you interview villagers and suspects you have to complete a puzzle before they’ll talk. Most of them have very little to do with your investigation.
The village looks like something out of Postman Pat. It’s all vibrant colours, babbling brooks, duck ponds, country manors, twee shops and mills. You don’t wander around the village freely; instead you choose a location from an overhead viewpoint.
Depending on how quick you can beat the puzzle and with as few mistakes as possible you’ll get a gold, silver or bronze medal. There will be a few case review quiz’s to make sure you been paying attention to the dialogue and your surroundings too. These will help jog your memory for evidence you’ve collected about your suspects. At the end of the episode you are required to choose your perp from a line-out.
Each episode has 12 puzzles, but unfortunately, they don’t change for a second playthrough killing the replayability of the game. That’s not the biggest problem with the puzzles though. The vast majority of them are maths based and well, just not that fun. Sure you can skip a puzzle while the game rubs the right answer in your face but then you’re just paying for a few linked-together cut-scenes.
Not all the puzzles are a bore though. The aforementioned case reviews make sure you’ve been paying attention to dialogue and your surroundings with multiple choice quizzes. Word puzzles focus on various types of anagrams and code deciphering which work as a nice break from the maths.
Audio puzzles return too. Such as listening to the postman describing what he heard on his route so you can plot his course on a map filled with traffic, farm animals and noisy kids. Other enjoyable puzzles include re-arranging pieces to connect a line of wires and mazes and so on. Or you might have to seat diners so none of their outfits clash.
The story is quite good in the end but it meanders pointlessly and infuriatingly at times, especially with how someone seems to get murdered at the end of most episodes, but next time you’re investigating a burglary or even a dirty hotel carpet instead, while the corpses pile up, rotting outside in the cheery sunshine.
The one part of the game that is consistently brilliant though is the voice acting, which is all the more enjoyable seeing as everyone is voiced by one man. Take a bow, Tom Dussek. If you don’t let out a little chuckle every time narrates the word ‘murder’ in dramatic fashion, then you’ll find the rest of the game particularly loveless. Unless you’re Rain Man looking for a quick fix.
- Some puzzles are quite entertaining
- Puzzle / mystery games are rare on PSN
- Fabulous voice acting from the one-man-show
- Mainly maths puzzles
- No replay value
- No game should require a calculator or ‘working out’ paper
The Short Version: There are just too many maths puzzles, sucking the fun right out of the experience. If you don’t mind that, there are a few other decent puzzles and the ‘whodunit’ aspects will keep you going until the end.