Blue Toad Murder Files Episode 1-3 PS3 Review

When a developer is stuck in a cycle of producing new games for the same series over and over again, there will probably come a time when they grow weary of constantly working on the same thing. This may or may not have been the case with Relentless Software, whom have been developing Buzz! games for Sony for over five years now, though you’d think they would be rather glad to work on something different, as is the case with their brand new Blue Toad Murder Files series.

Blue Toad Murder Files is a self published episodic series for the PS3, digitally distributed via PlayStation Network. There’s six instalments planned, with half of them already available for download, of which are covered in this very review.

Murder may be a serious business in the real world, although Blue Toad Murder Files is a family friendly and amusing mystery. Each episode has a sarcastic narrator telling the story, and a handful of silly characters will be your suspects as you attempt to come to the conclusion of who the culprit is in the once placid town of Little Riddle. Speaking of those with the dirty hands, there’s a guilty character in each episode, although there’s also a bigger mystery to solve as well, and this will only be achievable by playing all six episodes.

Interestingly, all the characters in the game are voiced by one English actor. Tom Dussek’s range is amazing, voicing a wild array of differing characters – both male and female – and generally providing each one with their own individual personality. Simply put, the voice work is silly, amusing and really quite masterful and a great example of a voice actor doing such an entertaining job that he adds so much to the game itself. The same could be said about the cartoon-like visuals, which are comical and charming, and definitely highly exaggerated when it comes to the characters.

Each episode is basically a series of puzzles and can be played locally by up to four players. Puzzles are generally tricky (or were for me at least) and range from maths problems, arranging things in the correct order, to spotting the difference. There’s even the occasional questions, which test how much you have been paying attention to the current case. In multiplayer, whilst you have the exact same goal as one another, there’s a sense of competition as your aim is to get more medals than your opponents.

When the story begins to unwind and you have chatted to all the suspects, it’s then up to you and any opponents to come to a decision as to who you think the culprit is. All decisions are sensibly kept secret until all players have come to their own conclusions, in which the wrongdoer is then finally exposed and likely headed for some lengthy jail time. To solve the crime and call out the true guilty party will either come through luck or, more satisfyingly, from your keen observational skills.

So, each of the released three episodes is fun, silly and refreshing in their humour, though now we come to the price. At the time of writing, the third episode is a completely free download, though of course you’ll need the first two episodes in order to play it. Sadly each episode is not really good value for money. Each one can be completed in under an hour and puzzles and culprits always remain unchanged, and, whether you buy the episodes standalone or in a bundle, you are looking at £6.29 or £9.99 respectively. This is a fair bit of money for games that have such little replay value, particularly when compared to meatier digital downloads at a similar price.

But if you can look beyond them being as overpriced as they currently are, there’s much entertainment to be found here. The episodes are all connected (each smaller mystery is related to a larger story) and are made all the more appealing thanks to quality and amusing voice acting from one very talented man, intimidating puzzles and a delightful, light-hearted sense of humour.