Dire news! The Mayor of the sleepy town of Little Riddle has been (music sting) murdered!
So begins Blue Toad Murder Files, an upcoming independent game exclusive to the Playstation Network. Published by Relentless Software, this fusion of party game-trivial pursuit, and whodunit mystery will release its first three episodes in late March.
Blue Toad Murder Files is more or less a linear party game, similar to those such as Mario Party, with trivia and brain-teasers in place of twitch-based minigames. Players take on the role of quintessentially quirky British detectives hot on the chase- which is to say they put their tea down carefully before ambling along in pursuit. Meanwhile, a posh and somewhat snarky narrator sets the scene, cheering every success and mocking every failure with equal wry enthusiasm, and paying very little attention to the fourth wall.
“It’s inspired by Agatha Christie,” said Jade Tidy, the game’s producer. “You know, very gentlemanly mysteries, with a pipe and a cup of tea.”
Up to four players move about the village, questioning a colorful assortment of characters about motives and events. Each episode stands on its own, but also fits into an overarching conspiracy plot. Puzzles range from math-based riddles and challenges to mix-and-match challenges, but solving the central mystery takes close attention to detail and clues and a good memory. Character designs are simple but expressive, and a single voice actor handles the entire cast of characters with surprising variety. The soundtrack is goofy, respectable, and often hammy.
Blue Toad Murder Files is the first self-published game for Relentless Software. The Britain-based publisher’s previous game, Buzz, sold 8 million copies.