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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publised By: Relentless Software
Developed By: Relentless Software
Genre: Adventure
Players: 1-4
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: March 25, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Price: $7.50 (Per Episode), $14.99 (Episodes 1-3)
Written By: Anthony Cara

April 5, 2010 - In the quaint little picturesque town of Little Riddle deeds most dastardly and murder most foul is unfortunately underway and it’s up to the Blue Toad Detective Agency to solve this recent spree of cantankerous criminal affairs! Armed only with your wits (and hopefully a few friends) you are about to embark on a hilarious and painfully witty adventure that will have you holding your sides just as often as you scratch your head.

That is to say… you will laugh at this silly little game and then feel dumb when you can’t solve the puzzles!

I was lucky enough to preview this game about a month ago and as soon as we were given the chance to review it, I jumped at the opportunity to take another trip back to Little Riddle. The game was much the same as I remembered it (except this time the trophy system worked properly) and I also realized that my memory was not as keen as I had thought and I felt at a loss even re-doing puzzles that hadn’t changed!

It’s a bit tricky to judge this as a video game because it feels more like an interactive media experience combined with murder Mystery Theater! The graphics are by no means cutting edge, but they are so perfectly suited to this delightfully quirky adventure that it will not bother you at all. The game’s atmosphere and its characters are bright and cartoon-like with exaggerated features and simply fantastic voices (all done by the same talented man I might add!). As previously mentioned, the games only real flaw lays in its replay value. The puzzles, the quizzes, and ultimately the guilty suspect never change- but with such a low price point and great multiplayer interactivity, it certainly can make for an entertaining evening with friends.

The game begins with the character selection screen. It doesn’t really matter who you choose, but that doesn’t stop everyone from clamoring for the lovely bespectacled old matron Maple. From there you simply sit back and watch closely, taking in every pertinent fact you can grasp. Each scene ends in a puzzle, and after that puzzle (assuming you aren’t playing alone) play control is passed off to the next player. The puzzles are typically math or logic based and you are given either instructions or clues to help you solve the puzzle. If you solve the puzzle quickly enough and without any mistakes, you are given a gold medal. If you aren’t so fast or accurate, you will get a silver or bronze medal. If you give up, you get nothing, but the story will still progress. After a few scenes and puzzles, you are given a few simple questions to prove you have been paying attention to every obscure detail they could throw your way. Since there is a grand total of 12 puzzles and 12 quiz questions- game play will always be divided up evenly no matter how many players you have. At the very end, players must choose (anonymously) who they think is the guilty party.

Episode one revolves around a dastardly MURDER! As the Blue Toad Agency is on the case and scoping out clues, they are introduced to a very colorful cast of townsfolk and ultimately gain the clues they need to sniff out the mysterious gunman. However- just as soon as they think it’s all figured out, a predictably unexpected event happens… and what was thought to be the solution of one case leads straight into another!

Episode two, though still centered on MURDER, focuses on a different type of crime. It would seem as though in the midst of all the chaos caused by small town homicide, a daring robbery of a posh old woman has taken place! This time, the Blue Toad Agency sets off to discover who the robber was and what their motivation may have been. As soon as the robber is discovered, the case gets even more complicated. It seems once again that solving this case has lead to even more questions!

Episode three begins with the detectives still in a quandary over the results of their previous two cases. Before they even have a moment to rest, arson most atrocious comes over the town hall! Who, what, why how and where (well ok, we know where) did this ferocious fire come from? Will this case lead only to more questions? Play through to find out… (I’ll give you a hint: there are still 3 more episodes on the way)

During the preview of the Blue Toad Murder Files, I had the chance to ask the developers where they felt the replay value of this game came in. They explained to me that it was a bit like watching your favorite episode of a TV show over again and that a great deal of the fun was in showing off the game to a different crowd and taking some guilty pleasure in the way they struggle over the puzzles. I actually had the chance to test this claim over the weekend and I must say it proved quite true! Having already conquered episode one’s devious little tricks, I sat down to play the game with my girlfriend before I set out to review it. Revisiting the charming town and watching her attempt the puzzles with her own unique approach proved quite interesting. It was even more interesting when I brought my PS3 to a small party and we all gathered round to have a go at it. Some friends, some food, and some alcohol definitely gave the game some added spice. Being completely familiar with all of the tricks and trials of episode one, I moved on to unfamiliar territory with episode two and I was ultimately ashamed of the results. While I almost thought episode one’s puzzles were childish and simple, episode two’s mind-busters made ME feel childish and simple. Seven adults (most sober at this point) spent at least 20 minutes trying to solve 3 different puzzles. It was certainly a humbling experience!

If you are still looking for some incentive to pick up this title at your local PSN consider this: with unchanging puzzles and solutions, what easier way is there to put a few more gold trophies under your belt? I must warn you- just like eating a bag of potato chips… you aren’t going to be satisfied with just one. Once your purchase a single episode, you will be in it for the long haul. So I recommend you save yourself some cash and go for the bundles.


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