E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)Release Date:
March 25, 2010Screenshots: LinkPrice:
$7.50 (Per Episode)Written By:
Anthony Cara March 8, 2010
- At the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills we met with UK-based Relentless Software for an afternoon of puzzle solving fun…and MUR-DER (bum-bum-baaaaaaaah!). Blue Toad Murder Files is described by the game’s creators as Sherlock Holmes meets Professor Layton as it blends a classic murder mystery style whodunit story into a delightful interactive multiplayer experience. Blue Toad will hit American shores this March when the first batch of episodes it released. It will be released in 6 episodes with 3 coming at the end of March and the other half coming at the end of April. Though the game can be enjoyed 1 episode at a time, at Gaming Evolution we will be reviewing them in chunks as they are released and then discuss the entire experience. After all, could you imagine trying to review God of War just an hour at a time?
So what do we have in store from the creators of the classic quiz game Buzz? I’ll give you a little hint…MURDER! (Cue the silly crescendo). After playing through Blue Toad Murder Files: Episode 1, I am very excited to see how the rest of the story plays out. The tale begins when the Blue Toad Investigations team arrives in the peaceful town of Little Riddle. They have earned a rest from their hectic, murder-solving lives. This rest proves to be short lived because not 5 minutes after they arrive, the town falls prey to a surprising MURDER! Now it’s up to them (and you!) to solve the case by investigating the 4 suspects and grilling the townsfolk for vital information.
The puzzles range from simple (but tricky) word problems to a game reminiscent of the retro DOS game Wall Pipe (or for the more recent generation, the Bioshock 1 hacking mini-game). If you solve the puzzles quickly and without any incorrect guesses, you will be awarded a gold medal (and possibly a trophy!). Every round, the game would insert a Case Review quiz to make sure gamers are paying extra close attention to the finer details. I can assure you, most of us were not the first time around- but I refused to be caught unawares the second time and found myself glued to the TV attempting to memorize every fine detail of this brief and enjoyable game. In the end, I guess I wasn’t paying as close attention as I thought because I still didn’t correctly identify the murderer….Next Episode- I WILL be ready!
When I first heard about the game, I admit I was as curious as I was skeptical. I asked a member of the Relentless team where the replay value was in a game like this. She explained it was “…a bit like sitting down to watch your favorite episode of friends again,” because hopefully gamers/viewers would be so interested in the story, they wouldn’t mind sitting down for another hour and a half and enjoying the game again. There is a certain degree of enjoyment- a guilty pleasure- playing with a different group of friends and watching them struggle through the puzzles you’ve already mastered and viewing their unique mystery solving approach. In addition to this, trophy enthusiasts will gladly replay the same episode at least once or twice in an attempt to ace each puzzle fast enough to net them every trophy possible. I admit, even after hearing this pitch, I was still a bit on the fence, but once I considered the price point- a mere $7.50- for an hour and a half of fun with friends, I looked at things a bit differently. This isn’t a game to sit at home and enjoy for hours on end, but rather you order up a pizza, grab a cold beverage, and sit down with a few friends to check out the latest episode of Blue Toad Murder Files. Not to mention- once both episode packs are released you are looking at about $30.00 for 6-9 hours of game play- which is not bad at all. In the future they hope to offer different randomized puzzles and they mentioned they had once considered branching paths and different outcomes for each play through. I would love to see the series continue into the future and realize these possibilities.
The Blue Toad Murder Files is definitely something to look forward to. With the game’s lighthearted atmosphere yet clever sarcastic witty charm, it can also offer a great family experience since it offers a little bit of something to everyone.
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