Cor blimey! I can do a cheesy British accent too! Jolly good! Chop chop!
There's a certain feeling of gloom when a game has a lot of good going for it and it still ends up a dud. Blue Toad Mystery Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle
is one such case. It has a fun art style and a cool premise, but beyond the deceptively interesting exterior lies a repetitive, unoriginal, and just downright boring murder mystery game.
Blue Toad Murder Files
is planned to be a six-part series of episodes that focus on the mysteries of a small English town called Little Riddle. Blue Toad Agency, a famous detective agency from London, has sent its four agents to the little town to investigate something weird
that's taking place in the village.
Each episode has the same gameplay structure, each with twelve puzzles that range from math problems to actual jigsaws that are presented to you as you visit a series of predetermined locations in town. All the while, you're constantly berated by the local populace in long-winded and overacted monologues that don't really offer a whole lot of information relating to the actual mystery.
The puzzles you solve rarely have anything to do with the case either, and the 'whodunnit?!' format of the episodes quickly becomes stale because of it. Information pertinent to discovering the culprit comes from everywhere but
the actual gameplay.
A shoddy autosave feature doesn't help, either. If you stop playing, say, during a puzzle and quit out of the game, once you jump back in, you'll have to watch all of the dialogue again.
Dialogue wouldn't have been a problem if the game had decent voice actors and a good script. Unfortunately, Relentless Software apparently only had the budget to hire a single actor that suffers from acute schizofrenia and Eddie Murphy syndrome
to play all of the game's roles, including all the females. It quickly becomes apparent that his range of voices isn't nearly enough to satisfy all the parts, in a series of ridiculously faux British accent and disturbing female performances. Why they didn't hire at least one other actor, preferably female, is beyond me.
Mystery of Little Riddle
should have been designed to be played multiple times, with up to four players, but it seems someone forgot to tell that to the puzzle designer. Questions don't vary from playthrough to playthrough, which makes the game the most extreme case of 'diminishing return'.
Even if the puzzles were to be randomized, playing this game competitively with someone else (cooperatively, maybe) just doesn't make sense. Scores and medals are given depending on how quickly and precisely you solve problems, but how can two or more people compete if they're not completing the same puzzle? It's just weird watching each other solve puzzles alternately.
This PSN-exclusive series of episodes can be bought separately for $7.50 each or in a three-episode pack for $15. But either way you choose, it's an expensive venture, since each episode lasts around an hour and replays are practically non-existent, unless you're going for Trophies.
Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle
had a lot going for it. It's colorful, the humor is almost there, and it's got a fun premise. But the lack of replay really slows the game down to a halt. It's boringly and sluggishly repetitive, very short, and damn expensive. Unless things really turn around in the last three episodes, that blue toad is destined for dissection. Besides, they picked the wrong amphibian for the job. A turtle would be much more suitable.