Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blue Toad Murder Files

Blue Toad Murder files is a downloadable puzzle board game for the PS3. The game is good with a really impressive mixture of puzzles, if a slightly off pricing model

Each episode, of which there are six, contain twelve puzzles. Despite this large number, they feel different from one and another and there is a nice balance between difficulty. None of the puzzles feel cheap and they include word, logic and spatial challenges which means everyone will be good at something.

In fact all the game play works really well. Four players can play with one controller. It takes the board game ethos of letting you choose how competitive you want to play. If you have younger players you may want to work together so they can do the more challenging puzzles, but the game includes plenty of scoring you so you can play against each other.

The great unmasking is also good. You have to be paying attention for the entire episode to be able to correctly identify who is the criminal. The developers have got the balance just right: you don't have to make any unimaginable leaps of genius, but equally it isn't blatantly obvious who it is; in all of the first three episodes at least one of us got it wrong each time.

The exaggerated town and over-the-top story are mirrored in the voice acting and art style. The narrators voice, whilst initially funny, starts to grate as he does a lot of talking. The characters are amusing with a very British sense of humour (there is even a Basil Fawlty-esque character) that give the game plenty of personality.

My main criticism with the game is how it is priced. There are (going to be) six episodes. Each episode has a self contained mystery to solve, but there is an over-arching conspiracy-theory of a plot to link the six. The idea is you can buy just one episode or the entire series. In principal this is a nice idea, letting you see what it is like before shelling out for the full thing. However, the pricing model simply does not reflect this idea.

[This is updated from the original review, see this post for details] The pricing is complicated: episodes one and two together are 9.99, the third one is currently free and the final three will be bundled for £9.99 unless you buy them all for 19.98. Confused, I was (hence the error). Let me do the maths for you: it is no cheaper to buy all of the bundles than to buy it in one hit. So just do that, which will let you try it out first. It is a really baffling price model, which considering the company is trying something new with the episodic content format is a shame.

They are enjoyable and if you are looking for a nice family game, £10 is great for three individual episodes. Though they have very little re-playability, they are fun enough to justify the price. I look forward to playing the final three, which are scheduled for the 8th of April. Because of the price scheme, you should get the first three soon (as the third one is only free for a limited time). I will review the other three when they are released.

This review has been updated to include factual corrections relating to the (quite) complicated price scheme. For full details of the changes, please view my correction post. Veteran Gamer believes in journalistic integrity and apologizes for this.

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