Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle Review
Upon my initial boot up of Blue Toad Murder Files: Mystery of Little Riddle, I was surprised to not find a point and click adventure game, but rather a strange hybrid of Professor Layton and Scene It. This combination turned out to be a fresh and entertaining take on murder mysteries, despite its short length and one major flaw.
Blue Toad takes players to the quintessentially quaint town of Little Riddle, filled with charming and also strange, caricatured characters who closely resemble the art style of the Sam & Max series. The comical and self-aware narrator steals the show as he walks players through every scene and interaction, and spews out witty remarks that will no doubt have you grinning throughout. Upon your arrival, you are witness to the Mayor's murder, and as a classic case of whodunnit, you must investigate and figure out who the killer is. This however is only episode one, as the story continues far beyond this all the way up to episode six.
Similar to Professor Layton, you watch cutscenes that provide hints and clues and tackle12 challenges per episode that will ultimately help you figure out each case. These challenges use deductive reasoning, math problems, careful observation, anagrams, riddles and more, and most are extremely clever and will definitely require some brain power. Each challenge also has a gold, silver or bronze award associated with how fast you were able to complete it. Since the game allows for up to four people to take part in crime solving, going for the gold makes it a much more competitive experience.
In between challenges, the game will sometimes task players to recall certain things that they saw or heard. This turned out to be most challenging as sometimes the smallest details are in question. I won't ruin any of these by posting examples, but be prepared to pay close attention to not only events that are directly discussed, but also things that might not seem important at all. While you're tasked to remember clues about each mystery, it's often tough to both concentrate on those, all the while pay attention to every single minute thing that could potentially by questioned later on.
Sadly, the novelty of the challenges is shortlived. When wanting to go back and revisit old chapters, I found that the game has absolutely no replay value. All the challenges remained exactly the same, which means players who have previously cracked the case will have no problem achieving gold in every single challenge after another replay. This is a big deal especially since the game excels at providing a fun and competitive experience, but unfortunately is only reserved for first time players. Coupled with no replay value is the fact that the game isn't very long. Each episode averages about an hour, meaning this mystery case will come and go before you know it.
Blue Toad Murder Files is a charming murder mystery filled with amusing characters that makes for a great game that everyone can get in on. However, don't count on an extended vacation in Little Riddle as the non-existent replay value gives little to no reason to go back and do the same challenges, let alone solve the same mystery multiple times.