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Blue Toad Murder Files Episodes 1 & 2 – The PS3 Attitude Review

Submitted by on Monday, 4 January 2010No Comment

Blue Toad Murder FilesAfter great success with the Buzz! franchise, Relentless Software have stepped into the puzzle and mystery genre with PlayStation Network title Blue Toad Murder Files.

The developers, who are also publishing the game themselves, have divided the title into episodes and right now you can download the first two.

We decided to take the opening iterations for a spin and because it’s targeted towards groups of friends and family, we thought it was a good excuse to bring them along too.

The game is based in a small quiet English village called Little Riddle, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Up to four players on a single console can play this game, with one character assigned to each person.

The unique presentation of this game is immediately apparent: The game is comically narrated in the manner of a small novel by a man carrying a strong English accent. This helps the player to merge into the story and have the various events easily explained to them.

It is also vital for the game because no dialogue is used for any of the characters you play, which perhaps is a shame but not necessary. The voice acting that does exist however appears to have been spoken by one actor, but this doesn’t matter for a game of this type either.

The graphics are alright for a PSN title too as they don’t try to push the boundaries for visual performance and instead choose a cartoony art style that reminds us a little of the Wallace and Gromit films.

In the opening episode, the plot is quite straight forward as a murder is taken place on a well known village personality, and so it is up to each player to solve the mystery by quizzing various villagers and solving clues.

Was it the doctor?

Was it the doctor?

The gameplay is pretty straightforward as you take it in turns with the controller to watch a cut scene with your chosen character and then solve a puzzle from a total of twelve per episode, which are divided equally between everyone. We must warn you also that the cut scenes can be very important as you are regularly quizzed on what you know from the plot so far, and this knowledge will help you solve the mystery at the end.

The type of puzzles that you will come across includes games such as understanding a doctor’s note or correctly naming four characters. These tests will challenge your mathematic and intellectual abilities, so it is ideally played when your mind is fully switched on as well as sober.

One of the friends taking part said that, “unlike with most games where you take it in turns to play it, the whole group can help each other solve the puzzles, and this makes the game more enjoyable”.

This is very true because playing this title feels less like a competition and more akin to a team effort. The puzzles vary in difficulty from very easy that only take a few seconds to solve, to a lot tougher ones that can take a couple of minutes to complete. In fact many of them are so hard that we wonder how someone playing by themselves could possibly achieve top marks as the puzzles are also under timed conditions.

No pressure, but you must connect these pipes as quickly as possible!

No pressure, but you must connect these pipes as quickly as possible!

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded based on how well you can solve each puzzle. Gold can be earned by completing the game first time within the time limit. Even if you go past the time limit but get it right without any errors, you will earn a nice shiny silver medal. Finally if you pass but have a few failed attempts and miss the time limit, you can still earn a bronze medal.

One of the family members responded to this dilemma by saying that they felt the “time limit makes the game too frustrating at times and even stressful”. Although the time limits can make you feel tense and agitated, we feel it makes it more exciting and the game would probably be too easy without them. It gives you an incentive to solve the puzzle as quickly as possible and with no problems, with the potential of improving when you play it again.

If you simply give up on a puzzle, the game will tell you the answer. This means that in theory you should get it right the second time when you play the game again. This is because the same puzzles will appear when you start the game over again, which does reduce the game’s replay value considerably – unless you and your friends have very short memories.

Although this means the game cannot really be played as many times as bigger titles like Buzz!, it can still be rewarding the second time as the game is still fun to play anyway if you’re with friends and family thanks to its fantastic creativity and writing.

But we shouldn’t forget that there will be multiple episodes for this game, and so the new additions should help you carry on enjoying the game as much as possible, but of course at a further cost.

So, who did it?

So, who did it?

At the end of each episode, the players are asked to decide on who they think the culprit is. Obviously we won’t spoil the surprises for you but three out of four of us got it right on the first episode and half of us on the second one. This proves that in the end, the game was not too complex to solve.

What we like about the second episode in particular is that it continues from where the first one left off, and so by buying all of them you, in some sense, will get a full game. However you don’t feel too pressured into buying every episode as each chapter does conclude the events of its own part of the story.

Blue Toad Murder Files is really a game that has to be played with a group of people. Although you can complete it by yourself, this is not how it’s meant to be played and you won’t reach anywhere near as much enjoyment playing it alone.

In all, this title is unrivalled by anything else on the PlayStation Store and provides a great experience that can be enjoyed in small chunks as well as a whole title. It is a shame that playing an episode the second time around is far from as fun as the first, but this shouldn’t deter you from giving the game a chance.

Why not give one episode a go and if you like what you see, you can go on to buy some more!