Developed By: Artegacts Studio
Published By: Microids
Release Date: 10.06.20
Agatha Christie’s novels have become world renown stories, leading to radio shows, television series and movies. The ABC Murders is a game that uses what has made these murder mysteries interesting and applies them in an engaging adventure that allows you to play the main protagonist, Inspector Hercule Poirot.
As you start the adventure as Hercule Poirot, you are notified that a murder has taken place. You are requested by Chief Inspector Japp to help solve the case. Japp believes he knows who the murder is, and argues that the answer is obvious. Yet, Poirot is not convinced. Thus, you set out to prove that the less obvious clues, along with a mysterious letter you receive, will lead you to who the true killer is. This opens the door to the discovery of a serial killer.
During the story, as you work to discover clues, you will have multiple puzzles that you are required to solve. Each one has their own level of difficulty. Admittedly, I expected them to be a bit less obvious to solve but that didn’t take any enjoyment from working through each one and each puzzle left me with a feeling of satisfaction once the puzzle was completed.
Once you have found enough clues to move further in the story, and you have put the clues together appropriately, you are provided an opportunity to “reconstruct” each murder. This was probably my least favorite part of the game. The details used to reconstruct the crime scene are already well known and it seems unnecessary when considering whether or not it helps guide the story. The point of that reconstruction is to provide details of each investigation to Inspector Japp and your acquaintance Captain Arthur Hastings. Unfortunately at least for me, it was more of a chore. If you do enjoy this portion of the story, you are able to revisit these at the title screen.
The controls are fairly easy to use and navigate. Which is nice if you have any issues with joy-con drift. The backgrounds used to recreate European locales in the early 30’s is exceptionally pleasing to the eye. Between the production of voice acting, down to the décor of the homes and bars, the details used were refreshing. I played the game in hand-held mode, and had no issues with how the game ran. As you work your way through the game you speak to citizens in each town. The voice acting in each interaction was well placed. Between someone being upset, to using clues to figure out if an individual is lying or being sincere, the developers paid obvious attention to the soundbites needed to make each one more relatable or grounded in their own world.
The music is absolutely fantastic. It is both pleasing to the ear and reminiscent of the period that the game is based. The art and shading reminds me of a motion comic, but smoothly made like watching an movie done in animation. One very small complaint I had in the beginning of the game, as seen in the picture above, is the use of “grey cells”. Any time Poirot would say “Let us now try and get our grey cells to work…” I assumed it was a bad translation of “brain cells” due to his accent in the game. This bothered me a bit until I did research on the term. I discovered that it was an exceptional representation of his intellect in the game. There are cells that make up grey matter of the brain and spinal cord and this is informally used to imply intelligence and brain power. While it is uncommon in technical use it was used often when associated with Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot in her novels. (reference www.lexico.com) Once I learned that it made the character in the game a bit more endearing.
As a fan of adventure games, and mystery novels, this game was highly enjoyable to play. From the entertaining dialog and pleasing music to the exceptionally crafted environments. While the reconstructions seem unneeded and a few instances of the story seemed obvious, I found the gameplay highly enjoyable. A delightful time, albeit it an old story, one that was surprising pleasant considering the nature of the goal of the game; solving murders.
Buy Now: 29.99
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*The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.