PS3 Reviews: Blue Toad Murder Files Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Blue Toad Murder Files Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

8.0

Gameplay:

 

8.2

Sound:

 

7.3

Control:

 

7.5

Replay Value:

 

5.0

Overall Rating:       7.6

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Relentless Software

Developer:

Relentless Software

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Adventure

Release Date:

March 25, 2010

There really is a lack of adventure games these days and although Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle perhaps qualifies more as a puzzler based on the premise of a mystery/detective story, it still feels refreshing. However, before I begin the analysis, I would like to make one thing abundantly clear: although this episodic-based game comes from Relentless Software, who provided us with the popular Buzz! trivia games, Blue Toad does not function well as a party game. It supports up to four players but there are several glaring flaws in this respect, and I will outline them in a moment. That being said, it does work very well for one player, so long as you enjoy the simple charm and have always been partial to Sherlock Holmes novels. Obviously, we’re talking about a simpler theme in the game but it really does ask that you be observant, quick-witted, and capable of paying attention to detail. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The graphics are surprisingly good for a downloadable product, and I think we’re starting to see a continuous trend of increasingly better visuals on the PSN. Perhaps it’s only natural and even expected but it’s still nice to see. The town of Little Riddle is charmingly appointed and detailed; it’s a vibrant palette of colors that sort of reminds me of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in a cartoon. You don’t have the freedom to wander around and explore but perhaps we’re better off for it. We always get a top-down, three-quarters view of the quaint little town, and we’ll see various parts of the town as the story progresses through each episode. The design and animation of the characters is decent and fits nicely into the family-friendly, appealing atmosphere. I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more visual inspiration in a few of the puzzles but hey, they’re puzzles. The graphics are hardly the focal point.

As for the sound, I think it all depends on how you respond to the prominent voice acting. It almost sounds as if one voice actor handled almost every character in the game, but they do have distinct styles and even accents. But like the graphics; it all fits: the narrator is appropriately over-the-top, the dialogue is silly and often comical, and the standard sound effects gel with the simple soundtrack. The music definitely should’ve played a larger role, especially at certain points in the mystery, but the combination of those sweet little effects and subtle yet well-implemented tracks makes this category a plus. I should probably reiterate, however, that if you have an issue with the voice acting – which admittedly can begin to chafe after a while – you’ll quickly grow annoyed. But it’s very subjective. Personally, due to the British tone and feel, it feels a little like playing one of those English sitcoms like “Blackadder.” Only this game is a while lot brighter overall.

The gameplay is all about puzzles and gathering up information that will help you solve the case at hand. The mystery travels through a set of episodes but because the gameplay and technicals are basically identical for each, we’re issuing an overall review that deals with the first three episodes, currently available on the PSN. In the first episode, you must solve a murder and while you do reach a conclusion (of sorts) at the end of the episode, the story invariably continues into Episode Two. And so on and so forth. During your stay in the small, traditional town of Little Riddle, you can choose one of four characters for each episode (it doesn’t matter whom you choose) and you will visit places and people of interest. As you go, you will have to complete a series of diverse puzzles that will shed more light on the case, and you will also be asked a bunch of questions that will test your memory and observation ability. It’s actually quite well done and I found myself smiling more often than not.

The puzzles range widely in terms of style and difficulty, which definitely keeps you thinking. Sometimes, you might even need a pencil and paper to solve a math-based conundrum, while other challenges will test aspects like spatial relationships and deciphering codes and anagrams. The great part is that you really won’t see the same puzzle twice and if you don’t keep a sharp eye and ear on the proceedings, you will fail those little investigator exams. There are usually 16 challenges to attempt in each episode and you will be scored on the completion of each: if you can finish below a certain time goal and without failing once, you will receive a gold medal. If you go over the time but still didn’t fail, you’ll get a silver and if you go over and fail multiple times, you’ll get a bronze. If you decide to give up, you get nothing. Completion gives you a solid sense of satisfaction and you really find yourself looking forward to the next puzzle. In this way, the developer succeeds admirably.

But as I said earlier, despite the fact that up to four players can dive into the mystery, the game doesn’t perform well in this way. The problem is that it’s just a hot-seat style of multiplayer, in that you and your friends simply take turns on the challenges; nothing else really changes. This also hurts the pacing and feeling of involvement; if there are four players, for instance, you’ll be sitting and watching most of the time. On top of which, because the challenges are always the same, it almost completely destroys the replay appeal. The only reason you could have to go through an episode again would be to get all gold medals, or something, and that’s not really a big enough incentive. Lastly, with each episode priced at $7.49 and each episode only coming in at about an hour’s worth of play, you get maybe 3 hours of play time for around $22.50. It’s a much better value when you buy the first three episodes at $14.99, but still…

This being said, I still think a lone gamer may really like playing through the Blue Toad Murder Files. I normally can’t play something for more than a few hours if I find it boring, poorly designed or paced, or seriously flawed in some way. But I enjoyed going through and solving the mysteries in each of the three episodes; I liked the puzzles that really did require a great variety of problem-solving ability, I appreciated the charming texture and pleasant gloss that coats the entire experience, and yes, I did smile quite a bit. It’s both challenging and mostly entertaining. However, the price doesn’t seem quite right and as a party/multiplayer game, it really falls flat. This unfortunately must affect the score but honestly, I think I liked what Relentless Software did here more than most other critics.

4/3/2010 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (21 posts)

LegendaryWolfeh
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 9:52:42 PM
Reply

Hmm, sounds nice for one players, maybe I'll wait for a sale or something tho =) Thanks for the review ben, i was really looking forward to it, haha

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Lazytrappin
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 9:52:43 PM
Reply

I'll be passing on this one.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 10:00:58 PM
Reply

hm, interesting, I might try it out if the price drops

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

I_defenestrate
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 11:13:36 PM
Reply

I'll join the price drop train too.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

kraygen
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 12:38:20 AM
Reply

I'll be skipping this, after 1 playthru it would simply take up space on my hard drive from now until the end of time.

Might be interesting once, but I only get games with good replay as every dollar needs to go a long long way.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

eLLeJuss
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 12:44:22 AM
Reply

If this was "norman jayden-like" investigating. THEN YES PLEASE.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 1:10:13 AM
Reply

3 hours?!! Are you kidding me?! It's a huge pass for me then.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

LegendaryWolfeh
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 2:41:20 AM

$15 for 3 hours isn't too bad, it'd mean if it was a $60 dollar game it'd be 12 hours, if you're just doing multiplying ratio things, lol. Besides there are going to be more episodes in the future so the story will kinda continue, but then again I don't have the game and I'm gonna wait personally, LOL.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fluffer nutter
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 1:34:02 PM

The Wolfe has a good point there.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 3:48:13 PM

$15 for three hours of game is terrible when you look at the glaring 5 on 10 for replay value. Those $60 games are not purchased on a whim. People buy $60 games they know they're going to play and get their moneys worth.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 8:07:03 PM

Depends on how you look at it. I likely won't ever play God of War III again after finishing it. Let's say it takes 10 hours or so. That's $6/hour. And $14.99 for 3 hours is actually a little less, at about $5/hour.

Besides, in the world of digital downloads, three hours is actually pretty long.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

JackC8
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 7:35:59 AM
Reply

I absolutely love the art style of this game. $15 for the first three episodes doesn't sound too bad - though $22.50 would definitely put me off. I think I'll check this out. Sounds fun.

Last edited by JackC8 on 4/4/2010 7:37:31 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 8:34:14 AM
Reply

I picked up all three of them. I like them, but think that the puzzles should be randomized. I read somewhere the team that made these are thinking of figuring that out for their follow-up. I had been waiting on this ever since I saw the EU release. And I appreciate the buy two, get one set-up, but the replay value is WAY low.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

hellish_devil
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 9:51:59 AM
Reply

Ben, I think you need to put the plataform at the beggining of the article (ps3 or psp)maybe where you put the publisher, the release date, etc. It'd be helpful =)

Last edited by hellish_devil on 4/4/2010 9:52:15 AM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 9:59:50 AM

I don't think I've ever seen a psp review on here. Am I missing something?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

hellish_devil
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 10:04:16 AM

If you see at the bottom of the webpage, you'll see a "recent reviews" section, and you can choose to se the psp ones, so, yes, there are psp reviews

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 1:15:09 PM

Oh, sorry. I always come here through my Google widget.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

fluffer nutter
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 1:35:53 PM

I see PS3 Review up there. Was this added after your comment?

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

hellish_devil
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 3:19:00 PM

Oops... yeah, it says up there. I never noticed it. my bad

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, April 04, 2010 @ 8:07:45 PM

Yes, we try to do PSP reviews every now and then but until we get a bit bigger, I think they have to play second fiddle to our PS3 review coverage.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

just2skillf00l
Monday, April 05, 2010 @ 4:33:20 AM
Reply

I got this game and I agree completely with your analysis Ben. The game as a whole was pretty enjoyable however, the multiplayer needed some work. I actually played it with other people and it seemed like the overall experience was a bit gimped by it. Like someone suggested above, it would be great if they could randomize the puzzles. I don't think this would be possible for all of the puzzles though because some of the puzzles are connected and directly tied to events that occur during the story.

This game sorta gave me a Professor Layton and the Curious Village feel but with more gameplay options such as the episode review quizzes and whatnot. Overall, I agree with the score. Nice review Ben.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

What do you think of the Destiny beta?
It's awesome! Can't wait for September!
It's only good, but I'm having fun.
Eh, it's okay, but I expected more.
It sucks, period.

Previous Poll Results