Game: Blue Toad Murder Files
System: PlayStation 3
Publisher: Relentless Software
Released: March 25, 2010
Review by: Kosamus
Welcome to Little Riddle, a “quintessentially quaint” countryside village with only one pub that isn’t even operational. (Say it ain’t so!). Not long after the Blue Toad detective agency arrived for a much needed rest, a MURDER happens right before there eyes. This is were you come along. You alone or up to three other players will take the role of each detective and attempt to solve this grueling murder.
Presentation and Story
The game features a stereotypical English cast all voiced by one man. From the narrator all the way to the old ladies which makes for a very humorous experience. The story is told in a very linear fashion with the player traveling from destination to destination interrogating witness and suspects. While at each destination, the player will come across puzzles that the cast of characters lay on you before you can retrieve any information from them. Puzzles involve anagrams, word searches and math. Or they might involve rearranging maze pieces or sequence steps. You’ll also need to have a keen attention span on random details that you’ll be quizzed on too. Each of the 3 episodes is comprised of 12 puzzles, 3 cross-examinations and a final Whodunnit to test your detective skills.
While the graphics may not be trying to break any boundaries or even attempting to push the PS3 hardware, it’s still a very good looking game. The world is full of bright vibrant colors with plenty of small animations going on which help bring the world to life. The character design is very stereotypically English from their large ears all the the way their facial gestures. Come to mention it, no one in this game actually has hands, but you won’t really notice because of the attention to detail of their facial animations. The designs come close to early Pixar standards which is a very good thing. If you have children around, they will immediately be sucked in to Blue Toad.
The game plays out very much like a game show intertwined with a murder mystery. As you progress through unskippable story scenes, you will enter into a puzzle section that each player will take turns attempting to solve. After each player has attempted the puzzle, a result screen will appear to breakdown the time each player took and the number of wrong answers submitted. With those results displayed, each player will receive a gold, silver or bronze medal or none at all if the player decided to give up. After 3 or 4 puzzles, a review section will come up and ask the players if they were paying attention to details. From what color the train you rode into the village was or something a witness said. You will need to get every question right or you will be considered a loser for the quiz. At the end of every episode, the players will have to take a guess as to who was the culprit of that chapter. As the story unfolds, the players are invited to tag along for the ride regardless if every riddle and puzzle is solved incorrectly, you will continue to progress through the story.
The sound is a reminisce of those radio mystery dramas from the first half of the 20th century. As I said before, this game is stereotypically English. If you don’t mind such lingo as “sharpish” and “m’um”, then the character dialogue is remarkably superb. The narrator is present through the entire story and has a very passionate voice that really sucks you into the adventure. An interesting design choice is that every character, man or woman is voiced by a single man, Tom Dussek, without any of the characters sounding the same is truly an amazing feat.
Wishes or Changes
The puzzles and riddles will always keep you on your feet, especially in episode: 2 were the difficulty take a huge spike upward. I wouldn’t want easy challenges as that could get boring, but the puzzles could have had better description in some parts. The biggest change I would make is multiple versions of the same puzzle. This game really suffers from re-playability because the puzzles and riddles never change. Making a second play through insignificant because the answers will always be the same in the exact order every time.
Blue Toad Murder Files is fantastic experience if you have siblings, family or loved ones around that want to play a multiplayer game that doesn’t require an itchy trigger finger. The thing is, I felt like I was studying for the ACT while playing this game. It takes a good understanding of problem solving and math to have an enjoyable time. If your math skills are sub par, then prepare to be frustrated. Even with my education background, I still found myself giving up on some of the puzzles. Blue Toad SHOULD be played with others because after awhile, you will stop caring if you get the puzzles right or not if playing through solo. I recommend downloading this game only as the 3 episode bundle because having only episode: 1 really defeats the purpose of this episodic adventure.
Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle features:
* Six separate episodes
* A thrilling cliff hanger at the end of every episode
* Over 90 puzzles, Whodunnits and cross-examinations
* Opportunity to play as one of four unique characters
* 1 – 4 co-operative multiplayer gameplay
* A story of mystery and intrigue
3 of 5 Michelas