Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries Of Little Riddle (Ep. 1) // PSN

December 22, 2009

“Are you marvellous or moronic?” intones the Narrator, all rolling Rs and bombastic pomp. More often than not, judged by this yardstick at least, you’ll be marvellous. The 12 puzzles that make up each episode of Blue Toad Murder Files are not likely to cause most people too many problems; you’ll find yourself more often than not breezing through with a gold medal for your efforts too. But its simplicity is not the key point here; Relentless aren’t trying to tax gamers here, rather to bring the whole household together in front of the TV to solve the whodunnit. As creators of Buzz!, they have plenty of experience of doing just that.

At £6.29 for a little over an hour’s co-operative play, the episodic nature of this murder mystery tale is a little on the pricey side, but Relentless have obviously spent a lot of time on the polish of their title. Character models are beautiflly stylised, often humorous to look at even before they open their mouths and the fantastic voice acting gets heard. The accents have the rural genteel English-ness that you would expect from the locals of a quaint village called Little Riddle, and there are star turns from the Basil Fawlty-inspired hotelier and the absurb yes/no-isms of the barmaid of the village’s only public house. Underpinning it all, and tasked with moving along the story, is the Narrator. Prone to a bout of alliteration and a comedic touch of overblown drama every time the word ‘murder’ is mentioned, the Narrator does a fine job of weaving together the disparate strands of the story into one cohesive whole, especially when you consider that some puzzles don’t really have any bearing on the murder mystery plot at all.

The puzzles are the real meat of the offering here, and its surprising how keen your fellow players are to help solve them when it is your turn to crack one. I played through the episode with my girlfriend and we were constantly helping each other out with little clues, sometimes offering up the wrong answer, to the chagrin of the other party. Such friendly cooperation is rare in gaming, and the gentle nature of the game’s challenges and its friendly visuals are more than enough to entice non-gamers into the fold, putting a comforting arm around their shoulders in a way that Nintendo has been cajoling all members of the family into its Wii collective for several years now.

So, whilst Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mystery Of Little Riddle (breathe) won’t win any awards for deep challenge, longevity or gameplay, Relentless should be applauded for providing PS3 owners, traditionally classed as a hardcore breed, a title with which to entice more reticent friends and family members to pick up the controller and get involved.

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