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Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle Preview

Nick_Tan By:
GENRE Adventure 
PUBLISHER Relentless Software 
DEVELOPER Relentless Software 
E10+ Contains Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Better solve them sharpish.

Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle is itself a riddle: It isn't blue, it has nothing to do with toads, and it isn't an adventure mystery title like Agatha Christie. Instead, think of Blue Toad Murder Files as a reinterpretation of the popular quiz-show franchise Buzz!, also developed by Relentless Software, into a family-friendly jaunt through a quaint 1920s British town. A killer is loose in Little Riddle, and it's your job as a renowned gumshoe from the Blue Toad Agency (I chose the old granny out of amusement) to discover whom that is.

click to enlargeWhile you, and up to three couch-sharing friends, solve a series of puzzles not too far from the dapper stylings of Professor Layton, you must pay complete attention to every detail in every cut-scene to deduce each chapter's who-dun-it mystery. It might be hard to concentrate because of the bombastic British humor, the nonchalant dialogue rich with exemplary jargon like "disquiet forboding" and "neighbourly conformity", the acute and amplified affluence of alliteration, and the "DUN, dun, DDUUUUNNNN!!!!!" before every brainteaser.

It also doesn't help that the puzzles, for as much focus is needed to complete them, yield practically no useful information on the mystery at hand. So you'll have to keep your wits about you at every moment. No worries if you forget any details, though - there will be a couple of recap "case review" checkpoints through each episode, and every puzzle can be skipped if they prove too difficult.

click to enlargeThis isn't to say that any of the problems, whether they're based on logic, math, pattern recognition, memory, or even sound, are incredibly taxing on the brain. None of them require anything beyond common knowledge and a steady mind, though earning gold ribbons depends on speed as well making no mistakes. Otherwise, you'll hear the narrator (who, perhaps in an homage to Eddie Murphy, voices every character in the game) comically berade you for your poor performance. A silver is simply a "shiny representation of your failure" (condolences to both our Vancouver USA Olympic Hockey teams).

Blue Toad Murder Files combines the cel-shaded charm from the likes of Wallace & Gromit and the challenge from Professor Layton into a delightfully short and sweet puzzler. Each of the six episodes shouldn't take longer than an hour and a half to finish, but it manages to have not a second of downtime, with your attention solely devoted to either the puzzles or the scraps of clues hiding in the cut-scenes. Already available for the PC, the first three episodes of Blue Toad Murder Files will be out on March 25th, 2010, exclusively for the PS3 with a pricetag of $7.49 per episode or $14.99 for all three. The final three episodes will be available some time in late April.

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