Blue Toad Murder Files (episode two): review

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In amongst all the brainbending lateral thinking of episode one, two people were murdered; one at the beginning, and one at the end. Everybody who starts off alive in this episode survives to the end. This time round, there’s a thief to identify.

It’s the same setup; a series of cut scenes telling the story linking a dozen puzzles, as well as some occasional questions to see if you’ve been paying attention – plus of course, you get to pick who you think ‘dunnit’ at the end of the episode. The story follows on directly from the first episode, but can be understood and enjoyed easily on its own (you get a brief summary of episode one just in case you haven’t played it, but it reveals the murderer – be warned!).

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"Rage Against The Machine are the Christmas number one?!?"

The first two suspects you come across are a vicar and a colonel, which makes the whole affair seem more Cluedoesque than ever; but the other two turn out to be a gardener and a butcher. Surprisingly perhaps, the introduction of the vicar is used as an opportunity for some sly (but by no means subtle) digs at organised religions, their followers, and their holy men. The slightly surreal result, is that Blue Toad Murder Files – in just a minute or two of script – faces the issue of religion with more bravery and forthrightness than both Assassin’s Creed games combined.

The episode as a whole is most definitely a detective mystery and not an attack on Christianity or any other religion though; the brief scene introducing the vicar will probably be regarded as the highlight of the competent, if unspectacular, script regardless of your own personal beliefs. Identifying the culprit seems easier this time round, but the puzzles… oh, the puzzles.

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The constable is looking at the inflatable rhinocerous juggling cookery books (who is just out of shot)

The puzzles in the first episode provide a good challenge, but episode two’s puzzles can sometimes tax you more ruthlessly than the government. Some of them require the sort of careful thinking that can quite easily result in a single player crying terribly rude words in frustration, or two to four players slowing each other down by throwing around conflicting advice and tactics. This isn’t necessarily a criticism; a game that makes you truly think is sadly rare these days, and solving such a puzzle is a source of much arm waving merriment (or expletive producing relief).

If a puzzle proves too much for you, Blue Toad thankfully allows you to give up and continue the episode without punishment; first showing and explaining the solution to you (though an option to turn off these automatic explanations would have been welcome). £6.29 per episode seems a little steep for roughly an hour’s entertainment at a time, no matter how much replay value it has with different friends and family members. You can download both of the first two together for £9.99, which seems just about reasonable to us – and if you’re at all interested, we recommend you do.


4/5
Relentless

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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