Blue Toad Murder Files episode three: review

Last week, the PS3’s most highly anticipated exclusive was finally released. A tense crime thriller that aims to redefine what videogames are capable of; to blur the line between movie and game; to finally give gamers a complex, mature script that doesn’t patronise them. Yes, Blue Toad Murder Files episode three hit the PlayStation Store.

We’re being silly of course. It’s unfortunate for Relentless that the latest episode of Blue Toad was released the day before Heavy Rain hit shop shelves, but they’ve done just about the only thing they could to get it noticed when clashing with such a big name game: they’ve made it available for free. It costs you nothing, nada, nic, to download. There’s got to be a catch, right? Well… yes.

It’s only free for a month after release (just enough time, one presumes, for most of the hoo – ha surrounding Heavy Rain to die down) and you need to have downloaded the non – free episode one in order to play it. The series has already built up a small but enthusiastic following; if that doesn’t include you, should it?

You guessed it: she's a florist.

Just in case you haven’t been following us closely enough to have read our reviews of the first two episodes (for shame!), a Blue Toad episode runs thus: Twelve Professor Layton – style puzzles are scattered throughout a lighthearted detective mystery plotline, told entirely through cartoonish cut scenes (you also need to identify ‘whodunnit’ at the end). You can play through on your own or with up to three other people, in which case you’ll be swapping a single controller around old skool stylee.

It’s very much business as usual in episode three. This includes the fact that the script, while not awful, isn’t anywhere near as sharp or funny as intended. The return of the hotel manager – a Basil Fawlty rip – off in both script and performance – proves to be more cringe inducing copycat than heartwarming homage. The puzzles are the lifeblood of the series however, and this latest episode keeps up the quality; and ramps up the difficulty. This is easily the most challenging episode so far, and the first one to force CG to give up on a puzzle (that lateral thinking anagram, grrr!).

Despite how it looks, you don't have to guess the location like a game of Deal Or No Deal...

Blue Toad is perhaps what you would expect from the team behind the Buzz! games; a casual title that can be enjoyed alone, but is easily at its best when played with other people. Bearing this and the 40 – 60 minute episode length in mind, you can knock a mark off the score if you’re the only person likely to play it. Replay value only comes from mopping up trophies you missed the first time around, or loading it up when you have guests in the same way you might dust off the Trivial Pursuit set.


4/5

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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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