Welcome to the cozy town of Little Riddle. At first glance this picturesque small town is the ideal place to live. There's plenty of room to walk around, no traffic congestion to speak of and beautiful scenery as far as the eyes can see. And did I mention the population of colorful characters? Little Riddle makes a great first impression. But look closer, because this quiet town has a dark secret. What first looks like the perfect place to go antiquing, quickly becomes a place to commit the perfect MURDER!
Blue Toad Murder Files is an episodic murder mystery that has you interviewing suspects, searching for clues and solving brain teasers in order to figure out who pulled off the nefarious crimes. You play one of four Blue Toad agents tasked with solving the various crimes committed in Little Riddle. To do this you will have to pay close attention and sit through about an hour's worth of silly cinema scenes and puzzles.
In total there will be six individual episodes. The first three are available now both in a bundle and individually, while the second half of the season will hit the PSN towards the end of April. Each individual episode will run you $7.49, which is comparable to the pricing structure of other episodic PC and console games. However, if you buy the full three-pack in a bundle it will only run you $14.99, effectively making the third game free. For this review I will be looking at the full bundle, touching only slightly on the individual stories of each episode.
The mysteries don't take long to start piling up. You aren't off of the train and in the town of Little Riddle more than a few minutes before the town's goofy Mayor is gunned down right in front of your eyes. From there we go straight into investigation mode, interviewing the four suspects, taking down notes and solving a series of logic puzzles that often have very little to do with the actual murder.
By the end of the first episode we've figured out who the murderer was and are ready to send them off to jail. But just as you getting ready to put the cuffs on, the murderer is gunned down it's off to solve another case. As you swing into action you'll discover that there's something far more sinister at play, perhaps even a full conspiracy. By the third episode you'll be investigating who burned down the local Town Hall and what all this has to do with the overarching storyline.
The story is there to push you along and give you a bunch of different puzzles to solve. Each of the game's first three episodes feature a dozen puzzles to solve, not including several pop quizzes and you ultimately pointing the finger at one of four suspects. These puzzles start out simple enough, asking you to convert U.S. dollars into British pounds or find the quickest path into the Town Hall. However, there's enough variety to quiz you in all sorts of different ways. In one puzzle you might be asked to water the garden, while in another you'll have to seat a bunch of hungry dinner guests in a very specific order. You'll deal with anagrams, math problems, reading comprehension and all sorts of other puzzles.
For the most part these puzzles are a lot of fun, many of them (especially late in the game) will require you to play close attention and read the instructions thoroughly. There's very little gameplay outside of the puzzles and quizzes, so Blue Toad Murder Files lives and dies on how into puzzle solving you are. What is especially annoying is that many of the puzzles feel like filler. You'll find that many puzzles are nothing more than you trying to impress the townsfolk enough to make them want to help you. While I understand why they set the game up this way, I have a hard time believing that in order for Sherlock Holmes to solve the case he first had to make sure a bunch of flowers were evenly watered.
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