Blue Toad Murder Files – we play Episode 1…
During Eurogamer Expo in London last week, the wonderful people at Relentless Software allowed us 90 minutes of hands-on time to take their first self-published title, Blue Toad Murder Files, for a full spin.
We managed to get through the entire first episode of the forthcoming whodunnit-em-up. So how does the game stack up? And did we manage to pick the right suspect?
Blue Toad Murder Files, or BTMF as we’ll no doubt shorten it to from now on, is a community game so we had to wrestle three other unsuspecting gamers from the Expo floor to sit with us and work through the first episode.
What strikes you straight away is how nice the graphic and audio design is within BTMF. All the characters have that part real, part cartoon look that you’ll recognise from early Pixar featurettes, and the audio cues come straight from a B-movie soundtrack which adds to the appeal of the game. The result is a game that you instantly smile at, similar in many ways to Relentless’ juggernaut of a franchise – Buzz! – and that is no bad thing.
The game plays out with each gamer taking their turn with the controller. After a cut scene, which you do need to pay attention to since valuable clues can be found in the script, you’ll be treated to a puzzle to complete. Although one person has the controller at this point, we found that everyone in the team gets involved in solving the riddle, usually through raised voices and fingers pointing furiously at the plasma.
After each player has been treated to the controls, BTMF reminds you that you should have been paying attention with a short quiz where the game tests you on what you’ve seen and heard so far. Each player has to answer a question, and again we found that everyone chipped in to help.
Gamers are rewarded for correct and speedy solving of puzzles with gold, silver or bronze ribbons. Despite the fact they looked similar to those you’d find stuck to an Aberdeen Angus at the South of England Show, the desire to make sure we got a gold ribbon in every game was clear and apparent!
What is nice about BTMF compared to other similar games, such as the Professor Layton series, is that the puzzles actually pertain to the story. There is a natural, plot-linked rhythm to them and one of the gamers we played with voiced their preference for the way Relentless have woven the games into the story.
Once you get to the end of all the various cut scenes and puzzles, you are presented with the opportunity to vote – secretly so that none of your cohorts know who you’ve chosen – on who the murder suspect is.
Annoyingly for you all, I’m sure, we got it right first time! Of course, it would be foolish of us to tell you who did it, but we do have witnesses that said we got it right. And a signed affidavit too, just in case we need the backup.
Throughout the 90-minute episode, we never felt as though the game was dragging on. In fact, the time passed quickly. We also noticed across the two days of Eurogamer Expo that groups of ‘hardcore’ gamers were forgoing an opportunity to play some of the visceral FPS title, instead choosing to sit for some hands-on time with BTMF. Everyone we saw playing the game was enjoying themselves… a tough trick to pull off, and one we hope will last across every episode of the game.
Blue Toad Murder Files is due out in December via the PS Store…