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Game Review: Blue Toad Murder Files Episode 1 & 2 (PS3)

Ever watched Columbo or Miss Marple and thought “I know whodunnit about five minutes after the film started?” Then finally a murder mystery has found its way onto the PlayStation network for Ps3 owners to enjoy, but is the game the crime itself?

The Premise

Basically you arrive in Little Riddle and witness a murder straight from getting off the train. You then go from mini puzzle to mini puzzle to discover whodunnit as they say. This is a six part series and this only covers the first two parts (I won’t spoil the plot as to why each episode is needed).

The Gameplay

Now Blue Toad Murder Files is going to completely polarise gamers. Essentially you watch an excellent cut scene and then from it you’re presented a puzzle. Each puzzle is timed but you can have as many goes as you like, you just wont get the trophies if you’re not quick and correct first time. The puzzles range from school maths to following directions around a map to code cracking. They are all logic based and a fair few require a decent amount of thought. A pen and paper doesn’t hurt either for the maths ones! None are controller based and so the gameplay is essentially popping your answer down… and that’s it. The story arc will have a much bigger puzzle which means your eyes and ears must be alert at all times for police reports to be correct and eventually to pick the culprit. However the way how everything is presented it feels so much more than the extremely basic game it is and its all tongue in cheek too which makes for good fun.

The Graphics

Visually Blue Toad is great. It has a cartoon feel that’s kid friendly even when the puzzles aren’t and the characterisation of the town and the people in it is first class. The menus and puzzles are all clear and precise and its easy to fall for its charm.

The Sound

Sound is possibly the games biggest strength. One man does all the characters in the game and they are all so cliche and silly it’s great to sit back and watch. The narrator reminds me of the Little Britain narrator in style and tone and the hotel manager might as well be called Mr Fawlty. The music is really hammy too adding to the whole “Oh Matron!” tone. It’s silly but fun.

The Replay Factor

Now here’s the biggest problem with Blue Toad… the price for the content. I’m a very keen gamer but by far not the best and I’d completed both episodes in about 90 minutes if not a shade under… and for £10 I was left feeling very cheated indeed. Numblast is on £3.19 and you can practically have just one game of that length! I imagine that going back to get some of the trophies I’d missed will take a little longer, however you can get them all in one playthrough and while I thought the game was fantastic while it lasted, I’m not sure I’ll be so quick to shell another £10 for episodes 3 and 4 if they’re the same length with no real step forward in puzzles.

The Positives

~Great production values for a PSN title

~Doesn’t take itself seriously and benefits from that

~Genuinely funny

~Nothing else like it on PS3

The Negatives

~Over far too soon for the price you pay

~A few puzzles are a bit too similar

The Conclusion

Blue Toad Murder Files is interesting and entertaining. It’s unique at the moment to PS3 and I think as an alternative title, it does a damn good job… but… by the time you’ve bought all 6 episodes you’ve bought a full priced title and it’ll be completed potentially in say 4.5 hours… that’s not what I call value for money. Also you know that buying all six together when its all released will be cheaper thus annoying everyone who actually stumped up the cash. It’s a shame as I really liked this game but it also feels like a con too. We’ll see if I buy the next duo and hopefully they’ll be more content involved.

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