Blue Toad Murder Files ReviewGreg Knoll
I had initially sought out Blue Toad Murder Files in hopes that it would be a fact-finding, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego-esque game which would have me actively seeking out clues and solving puzzles based on my findings.
In an effort not to ruin anything I'll be honest and upfront for anyone with the same hopes: it's not.
However, do not let that sully you in the least. Blue Toad Murder Files is far more entertaining than a simple search-and-click style. In truth, it plays more like Brain Challenge, with a wide variety of puzzles that will test your logic, mathematics, visual and cognitive skills. The only difference is this one has an intricate-albeit quirky-story intertwined and an ultimate goal to achieve.
That goal is to solve the greatest mystery the peaceful town of Little Riddle has seen: Murder!!
Sorry, that was a touch dramatic and maybe even slightly odd, but five minutes in the world of Blue Toad and you'll see I've actually downplayed it quite extensively.
Again, though, that's not a complaint. Blue Toad is one of those rare quirky games that's entertaining in its bizarre nature, not because it's trying to set itself apart, rather the developers have their own sense of style. This one, far off British comedies you only see on BBC or PBS late at night. The dramatic narrator, the over-expressive faces and wide-eyed reactions of characters. The varying accents and strong definitions of voice. Though it's not ultimately an original story-that of one murder which spirals into a full-blown conspiracy-I almost immediately attached to the story, strictly because of the way it was told. I imagine many will.
That alone gives worth to the tiny price tag required to attain it, but it's the puzzles that truly sell the game. Though they are consistent in type-logic, visual, memory, etc.-the manner varies between episodes. Sometimes you're searching for a witness and must relay to an NPC what they look like and the game switches to solve mode, in which you must rebuild her face using several pre-rendered palates. Other times you're required to help a patron of Little Riddle before they'll hand over that precious information. One found me in the local pub, connecting four kegs on the left to four taps on the bottom. Each was colored differently, between them a series of entwined pipes and several gaps. On the right side, tiles with two forms of connections could be moved and placed to-eventually-sync the colored keg to its proper tap.
Each puzzle is timed and you're graded in terms of gold, silver or bronze. Finish within the time limit, without any mistakes and you'll earn the gold. Make one mistake or go over the time, silver. Both and you're starting at a big bronze reminder, of which the narrator mocks you for. As the game progresses, the challenges become harder but not to the point it becomes un-enjoyable. You always have the option of replaying a level. The answers don't change, so if you're smart enough to remember what the answers were, you can cheat to snag that elusive gold.
I won't judge you, but it does make the game a little too easy and obliterates the replay value.
Once all the evidence is collected you are able to solve the main mystery of the episode-provided you paid attention to the little things and subtle hints in the dialogue.
You're a detective, remember? It's your job.
And though Blue Toad Murder Files wasn't what I imagined it to be, it possibly turned out better. A quirky, original title, entertaining break from the action and explosions saturating the market-much like Costume Quest or Pain.
I just wish there were more of them.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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