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Blue Toad Murder Files The Mysteries of Little Riddle

 

 

SCORE: 73

 

Blue Toad Murder Files The Mysteries of Little Riddle 

 

Devious and dastardly deeds have been committed in the quiet village of Little Riddle. As a member of the Blue Toad Detective Agency you must get to the bottom of these terrible tragedies. Filled with mysteries and puzzles to work through, this episodic adventure is sure to keep players busy for hours with brain bending detective work. The mystery we are concerned with, however, is if this game will prove to be family friendly.

The Mysteries of Little Riddle has a very distinctive appearance. Your adventure takes place in the town of Little Riddle, a quaint rural English village populated by a host of colorful characters. The game takes on three different visual aspects depending on the situation. There is a map overview that shows a detailed 3D rendering of the village complete with animated sheep, cars, clouds, and ducks. This view is presented when you must choose which location to visit next in your quest for collecting clues. Much of the game takes place within animated dialog sequences between your character and the various townspeople you come into contact with. These sequences are not interactive, but you must pay close attention to what is being said and what is being displayed as these things will often provide information vital to solving the mystery at hand. The third view that the game presents to you with is the interactive puzzle mode in which you will solve a vast variety of puzzle to progress through the game. While this game is very colorful and cartoonlike, it also has a dark side. As you have probably deduced, murder is a very prominent theme in this game. While players are spared the graphic details, murders will be committed before your eyes. Impressively there are no signs of blood or gore, but the cartoon corpses are in plain view.

The musical selections fit into the game perfectly and accent the “dramatic” moments appropriately. There are several occasions when the music humorously reinforces the events taking place. Sound effects are crisp and clear and feel like they belong which adds to the atmosphere of the game as well. There is a tremendous amount of narration and dialog to be found in The Mysteries of Little Riddle. The narrator, with his thick stereotypical English accent, provides much comic relief throughout the course of the game. Most of the dialog within the game is clean, but there are certainly exceptions. There are a handful of suggestive comments made by both male and female characters within the game that are not appropriate for many players. The “d-word” is used no less than 6 times throughout the course of the game which is unnecessary. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the audio in this game is the voice acting. While the voice acting is truly done quite well, all of the characters (both male and female) possess a strikingly similar sound to their voices. Looking though the game credits a single name is listed under “Voice Artist”. While it is impressive if indeed a single actor voiced all of the many characters in the game, it sadly becomes quite noticeable during gameplay. Certainly there were a good many that were distinct enough to pass, but the majority of voices sounded so similar that it was just distracting. At the very least I would think that a separate actor for the male and female characters would have been in order.

The Mysteries of Little Riddle offers a rare feature that adds a whole new dimension to this murder mystery. Players can play this game solo or with up to three other players cooperatively each with their own unique character. This provides the ability for families and friends to play this game together and help each other unravel the mystery. While players play cooperatively, there is still room for some competition as your scores will be compared at the end of each mystery to reveal who is the superior sleuth. There is a lot of content to play through in this game. With nearly 100 puzzles to solve I would estimate that players can expect a good 6-8 hours of gameplay from start to finish. These types of games typically don’t hold a lot of replay value. If, however, you want more of Little Riddle you can replay all of the puzzles individually after you complete each episode. You can also watch the scenes from each episode if you are so inclined. Players who complete the game should also watch through the ending credits for a little bonus.

The gameplay of The Mysteries of Little Riddle is easy enough to grasp, but this doesn’t mean the game is simple. The game is split into six separate episodes in which you must solve a different mystery to move your investigation closer to solving the larger mystery. To solve these mysteries you must question various townsfolk to gain valuable clues and discover suspects. Oddly enough, it seems no one is willing to answer your questions unless you’re willing to help them with something first. Each villager will describe their predicament to you at which point you are presented with a puzzle to solve. I was impressed with the variety and creativity of these puzzles which is something that is often lacking in these types of games. Though many puzzles are variations on puzzle types that have been around for ages, each has its own twist that makes it fit into the game nicely. Upon completion of a puzzle you are awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal depending on how well you did. A brilliant feature that Relentless Software chose to include is the option to skip a puzzle. While not something that should be used on a regular basis, this offers a nice out for players who may get stuck on a particular puzzle but still want to continue through the story. In addition to the puzzles, the narrator will occasionally quiz you on specific plot details to make sure you’re paying attention. This is helpful as it reminds you to focus on details found within the dialog and not just on completing the puzzles. It is critical to pay attention to as much as possible because it is often the minute details that reveal the identity of the perpetrator. At the end of each of the six episodes you must choose who you believe the culprit to be.

I am afraid this clever game makes some choices that cause it to fall short in the family friendly category. I will first point out that this is an enjoyable game that would be suitable for teens and adults who can handle some of the questionable content. This could also be a fun whodunnit game to play together as a family assuming everyone is old enough. Sadly there are a few things that will deter families with younger children or those who just wish to avoid this type of content altogether. In addition to the moments of suggestive dialog that I mentioned earlier, there are also several cheap shots taken at the church in the game. While this church does not explicitly state it’s denomination, the church related comments are sure to be offensive to some players. The Vicar (clergyman) in charge of the church has a depressive view of his religion and makes references to false gods on more than one occasion. Players will also be required to visit a pub and solve a beer flow puzzle. There are references to romantic affairs taking place between multiple characters in the game. Even a dog makes an appearance and is used for inappropriate sniffing jokes. As always parents will need to decide for themselves if this game is something that is appropriate for their family. The game certainly has enough wit and humor to stand on its own without stooping to use cheap off color humor. I would like to see sequels to this game in the future, but I believe this game would have a much broader appeal to families if the unnecessary tawdry content were omitted.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 72%
Sound: 68%
Replay/Extras: 81%
Gameplay: 84%
Family Friendly Factor: 61%
System: Playstation 3/Personal Computer
Publisher: Relentless Software
Rating: 'E10+' for Everyone 10+
{Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence}

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com