Blue Toad Muder Files, as some of you will already be aware, is an episodic murder mystery game with a narriative that continues from one episode to another. Think of a series of the T.V. show Dexter, or perhaps Burn notice, where each episode has it’s own action packed story line that at some point will advance the overall narriative of the series. It’s a tried and tested formula that works very well in the entertainment industry, and one that fits in very nicely with the the Blue Toad series of games.
Since each episode relies on you having the original episode installed before you can play, don’t expect any advancement in graphics throughout the series. This isn’t a bad thing however. The style of each location and character is wonderfully thought out and brought to life in a comical, clichéd, and highly entertaining fashion. Framerate is never an issue, and the brightly coloured town of Little Riddle gives a warm and pleasant feeling to the game, much like when you visted that model village or railway as a child.
The control system is incredibly simple. With most functions being performed by one or two buttons. For example, to complete a puzzle you simply move the cursor over the correct puzzle point on the screen, press X to select and then ∆ to submit your answer. That’s pretty much about all there is to know. Navigation around the town is done by pressing left or right on the D-Pad or left Analogue Stick and selecting which of the, admittedly few, locations you wish to visit and investigate.
The storyline is simple enough – Find out who did the crime. That’s basically it. Twists and turns are few and far between, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to concentrate on completing the puzzles in order to advance to the next part of the mystery, and believe me, you will need your thinking caps on for some of the puzzles. One or two are very simple indeed, however some will have you stumped for a few minutes, and if your like me, bringing up Google to solve the puzzle……. Oh c’mon we all do it at some point.
The script and general feel of the game makes me think that it’s intended for those aged 16+. Not because of any ‘adult’ content (of which there is none, so the little ones are safe), but simply because the vocabulary and gramatical prowess of the characters is far above and beyond that of your typical 12 year old. Also only those with years of comedy watching experience will truly appreciate the effort gone into the writing. Keep an eye out for the Basil Fawlty like hotel manager, a great tribute.
The only downside is that the game is VERY linear. There are no real opportunites to travel around the town in a ‘free roaming’ style environment. To be fair though, I didn’t really expect it from a 600Mb game.
All in all Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mystery of the Concealing Flame, is a great way to spend one or two hours on a saturday afternoon. Oh, and did I mention you can have up to four players, each person attempting to solve the mystery in a party style game similar to Cluedo? Might be just the thing to entertain your gaming guests one evening. Just don’t have too much to drink before you play, I assure you the puzzles will make you wish your were sober.
Gamer Score – 7.8/10 – Worth the time and effort to play, but definately not for the hardcore gamer, think more family entertainment.