Blue Toad Murder Files
|Blue Toad Murder Files|
|Director(s)||David Amor, Andrew Eades (executive directors)|
|Producer(s)||Darren Tuckey (senior producer)|
|Designer(s)||Paul Woodbridge (design director), Ruben Farrus (Designer), Steve Grimley Taylor (Lead Sound Designer), Andy Black (Junior Sound Designer)|
|Mode(s)||Single player, (offline) Multiplayer, (offline) co-op|
Blue Toad Murder Files (full title, Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle) is a murder mystery puzzle video game developed and published by the British video game developer Relentless Software. The game is episodic and the first installment was released for the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Store in December 2009. The entire "season" of the game, Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle, includes six separate episodes. The Windows version was available to download from online games distribution sites as well as from the official website in November 2010. Support for PlayStation Move was added in December 2010 (update 2.0). An iOS version was released in April 2013.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Reception and sales
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The game is for one to four players and leans towards TV murder mysteries such as Agatha Christie's Poirot, Midsomer Murders and Jonathan Creek with "witnesses, alibis [and] motives" rather than being a logic puzzle like Cluedo. The game sees the player investigate murders and interrogate residents in the country village of Little Riddle. Aspects of the game have been compared to the Professor Layton series of games, regarding its setting and puzzle solving game mechanic, but it differs from the Layton games in that the puzzles in Blue Toad are more closely linked to the game's storyline. At various points the game questions the player about their investigation and key plot points to check that they were paying attention. Actor Tom Dussek voiced all the 22 characters (+dog) in the game.
Blue Toad detective agents
At the beginning of the game, the player(s) choose(s) between these four characters (excluding Watson):
- Lambert Vanderbosh was one of the first members of the agency. He is 50-something years old and is keen, kind and caring. Vanderbosh has grey hair and a large mustache. He is dressed in a brown business suit with a red (white polka-dots) scarf tucked in.
- Miss Marjorie Maple looks like a helpless old lady, but is actually a well-seasoned detective. She is understanding, loyal, and respective to others in the agency. Maple, like Vanderbosh, has grey hair which she wears in a bun. She wears a purple twin-set and half-moon eyeglasses.
- Richard "Dick" Dickens is a credit to British schools everywhere and has a dazzling career ahead of him. He is tutored by the other agents and is very hardworking. Dickens has brown hair which is always neatly combed to one side of his head. He wears a green, sleeve-less sweater (over a lime green shirt) with puffy brown pants and also wears round glasses.
- Hannah Dakota is the newest addition to the Blue Toad team and received her invitation when she solved the Dilemma of the Discordant Debutant. She is smart and very attractive, too. Hannah is a blonde-headed detective and has side bangs which are tucked back. She wears a yellow sweater with a green tie and a green skirt. Like Dickens, she also wears round glasses.
- The Station Master
- The Mayor
- The Town Hall Clerk
- The Doctor
- The Jeweler
- The Miller
- Mrs. Gossip
- Inspector Bragg
- The Constable
- Lady Snobbish
- The Vicar
- The Colonel (Bert the Blag)
- The Butcher (Winston)
- The Librarian (Margaret "Maggie" Tess Madding)
- Mrs. Bothersome
- The Antique Shop Owner
- The Hotel Manager
- Mrs. Wentworth
- The Chef
- The Baker
- Malachi Snobbish
Episode 1: Little Riddle's Deadly Dilemma
The episode begins with the narrator explaining how your player is on vacation. Mother, the head of The Blue Toad Agency, is said to have sent you to Little Riddle, a village described to be quite peaceful and comfortable. When the player arrives at the station via train, he/she sees a member of the station staff (the Station Master) locked in a rather one-sided conversation with an old lady. The Station Master notices your approach and seems to recognize you from the newspaper, as a picture of the Blue Toad Agency members is on the front. The player then has to explain to the Station Master who is who by completing a puzzle. After you are finished, you head off to the town hall, where you meet the Mayor. Halfway through the conversation, the Mayor is shot and his body falls in front of you. You then notice that the Mayor has dropped a diary and pick it up. Soon, a constable arrives at the scene, shocked to hear and see that the Mayor is dead. Your player then deciphers the diary via puzzle and learns that the Mayor had been in heated arguments with four people: The Doctor, The Jeweler, The Miller, and The Station Master. After this, you decide to visit these four suspects (the order of your visit to each person may vary); from the Doctor, you learn that the chemist misread his prescription, which is why the Mayor was given the wrong pills; from the Jeweler, you learn (after calculating how much the Mayor paid) that the Mayor still owed the Jeweler money; from the Miller, you learn that the Mayor had forgotten his appointment with the Miller, in which the Miller had wanted to get his Mill repaired; and finally, from the Station Master, you learn that the Mayor and him had argued about a tea room but the Mayor had promised to look into the matter again. You try to talk to the Town Hall Clerk, but you find Inspector Bragg, an officer who doesn't like you investigating, already questioning her. Tired, you then check into the Little Riddle Hotel (after completing a puzzle) before heading off to the pub. At the pub, you help the bar maid fix the pub's pipe problem, and then chase down a shadowy figure who you know is spying on you. The figure is revealed to be the Constable, sent by Inspector Bragg to keep an eye on you. In the morning, you think that the old lady that you saw at the station might help you know more about the Mayor and learn from the Hotel Manager that her name is Mrs. Gossip. Your visit to Mrs. Gossip's cottage is pointless and is of no help. When you meet the Town Hall Clerk, she tells you about each of the four suspect's conversations with the Mayor and also points out that the Miller had no appointment. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the Miller was the Mayor's murderer but as your player and Inspector Bragg question him, he too is shot before he can reveal his allies.
Episode 2: The Mystery of Riddle Manor
The episode begins with the narrator giving a brief review of the previous episode. Your player is shown at the police station, listening to Inspector Bragg, who is blaming you for the death of the Miller. Bragg says that if you hadn't alerted the Miller's allies, they wouldn't have shot him. Soon, the Constable arrives, out of breath, and states that there has been a robbery at the Riddle Manor. Riddle Manor is said to have been owned by a woman named Lady Snobbish. The Inspector lets you go, and you head to the Mill to see if you can find anything linked to the Miller's death. After finishing a puzzle, you find an old photograph under some sacks. The player then heads to Riddle Manor, where the Constable doesn't allow him/her to enter through the front, but gives enough hints to let you know that you can go around the back. Of course, you have to go through the Manor's Maze (a puzzle). There, you see Lady Snobbish and Inspector Bragg having tea on the veranda. Lady Snobbish tells the Inspector that two people visited her that day: The Vicar and The Colonel. Suspicious, you pay visits to the two men; at the Vicar's church, the Vicar states that he saw nothing of the unusual at the Manor, but leads you to Moses, the Vicar's groundskeeper; at Moses's shack, all Moses tells you is that he saw weeds at the manor; finally, at the pond, the Colonel runs off to see Lady Snobbish once you tell him that the Manor was robbed. At the Police Station, Inspector Bragg seems quite happy to tell you that he found the items stolen from the Manor. The Constable corrects him and says that someone else found them, but Bragg does not allow him to reveal who. Outside, though, the Constable tells you (via hidden message) that the Butcher found the items. When you arrive at the Butcher's, he describes the items that he found: A walking stick, a Chinese Puzzle Box, and an old writing box. Back at Little Riddle Hotel, you look at the photograph you found and discover that the young girl in it (with a lady and a young boy) is Mrs. Gossip. The Hotel Manager then informs you that a parcel has arrived for you and is at the Post Office. You go to the Post Office and retrieve a letter sent to you by Mother, opening it (and finding a newspaper clipping inside) in privacy at the pond. After doing so, you head to the Manor and Lady Snobbish gives you the same description of the missing items as the Butcher, with the exception of one item: an old Prometheus Statue with his hands down. Hopeful, you visit Mrs. Gossip once again, but like before, your visit is pointless. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Moses was the thief (when you visited him, the Prometheus Statue was on his night table). When Inspector Bragg questions him, Moses says that he can't reveal anything because a certain "someone" would want it that way.
Episode 3: The Mystery of the Concealing Flame
Once again, the episode begins with the narrator giving a review of each event in the previous episodes. The Constable, Moses, Inspector Bragg, and the player are shown at the Police Station, with Bragg trying to get Moses to speak the truth. The Inspector soon notices that something outside is on fire. The smoke leads you to the Town Hall. After extinguishing the fire, you get informed by the Town Hall Clerk that the fire started in a cabinet in one of the archives. She also tells you the names of the four visitors who visited the Town Hall that day: The Colonel, The Doctor, The Librarian, and The Jeweler. Upon return to the Little Riddle Hotel, you learn that Watson, a smart dog and a loyal Blue Toad agent, has also arrived in Little Riddle. Determined to discover something, you pay visits to the four suspects that the Town Hall Clerk told you about; at the Doctor's Surgery, you learn that the Doctor was just researching at the archive, but before that you encounter Mrs. Bothersome, who you think is Mrs. Gossip at first but then later learn that she is her twin sister; at the Library, the Librarian tells you that she was at the Town Hall to sort out the filing system; the Jeweler states that she was in the archives researching information about a pearl necklace; and the Colonel says that he was "doing a bit of reconnaissance". After hearing that something is happening at the Antique Shop, you head over there and the cashier tells you that someone (wearing a hat, pulled down low) was trying to steal a Prometheus statue (one that bears a strong resemblance to the one Moses stole). The cashier also tells you that there are three of these statues, but then Inspector Bragg arrives and asks you to leave immediately. The player then visits the Town Hall, where the Town Hall Clerk says that Inspector Bragg has told her to grant you no permission to look at the archives, but she also says that she is off duty this evening. At Mrs. Bothersome's cottage, you find out that the Doctor is arranging assignations with the Librarian. In the Hotel, you look at the newspaper clipping Mother sent you and notice the photo on the back; it is a portrait of Lady Snobbish's grandmother and grandfather, with the grandmother wearing a familiar pearl necklace and a Prometheus statue is set on a table behind the couple. When you visit Riddle Manor and ask Lady Snobbish if she had sold the pearl necklace, she states that her father took it when he "left". Since it is evening now, you sneak into the archives, where you find an empty paraffin canister and an intact box of matches. After Watson sniffs the evidence, you instantly know who used the two items and go to the police. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the Librarian was the one who set the fire in the archives. When the Constable and Bragg question the Librarian, she states that she did it for love, but says it wasn't for the Doctor. After her confession, she is hit by a car and she dies.
Episode 4: Death From Above
After a very quick preview of the previous events, the Librarian's (whose name is revealed to be Margaret Tess Madding) funeral begins. At the end, the Vicar asks you to investigate on Moses's behalf, as the Vicar does not believe Moses would do such a heinous crime without a strong motive. As you stand outside the Church's doors with the Vicar, the Colonel appears and says that he found something. Before he can say what, though, a block falls from the belfry and hits the Colonel, killing him. In the bell tower, you find Mrs. Gossip polishing the bells, saying that with Moses in jail, someone needs to do the cleaning around here. She also mentions that she thought she saw the Doctor (a lovely man, she says) in the belfry. When you visit the Doctor, he says that Mrs. Gossip's mental state degenerates daily and says that Mrs. Gossip said that she saw him because "when she saw him at the funeral, she must have carried the image with her". At the Police Station, the Constable informs you that Moses escaped, as someone knocked down the wall and took Moses with him/her. In the Colonel's house, there is a lot of information on Lady Snobbish but in the safe, you find notes on the secret research the counterfeit Colonel was conducting. Apparently, the Miller had really been a Snobbish, and he had a kid, too. At the Church, you find out that the Vicar had helped Moses escape, as Moses is in the Church. The Vicar says that "he" claims it is his son, but The Vicar fears a darker force. At Riddle Manor, Lady Snobbish says that (once you show her the newspaper clipping that Mother sent you) the man in the portrait is her late husband's grandfather, and as she married into the family, she bears no resemblance. When you ask her if there are any other members of the Snobbish family, she very heatedly says no. Hopeful, you visit Mrs. Gossip and after looking at the photograph that you found under some sacks at the Mill (in Episode 2), she recognizes the woman in the picture as Mrs. Wentworth, the late wife of Moses, and the little boy as Charlie, her son. She mentions that Mrs. Wentworth was into the Miller for some time. At the Doctor's surgery, the Doctor conducts a test on you before giving you some pills to take before bed, saying that you need something to relieve the pressure on you. He says to come back tomorrow, but not in the morning, as he has an appointment with Lady Snobbish. At night, you retire to your room in the Hotel, and the dream you have (after taking the pills the Doctor gave you) leads you to fitting the pieces together in your mind. At the end of the episode, you put your suspicions on the Doctor, and think that the Doctor is going to murder Lady Snobbish too. When Bragg checks on the Doctor at Lady Snobbish's house, everyone/thing is fine. Frustrated, and thinking that he was made a fool of, the Inspector puts you in prison.
Reception and sales
Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle received moderately positive to mixed reviews.
Eurogamer awarded the game 8 out of 10 (all six episodes), commenting that "..the important elements, like the character, charm and challenge necessary to make episodic games worth sticking with, are all in place."
GameSpot UK reviewed the first three episodes of the season with a score of 6.5 (episodes 1-2) and 7.0 (episode 3) out of 10, commenting that "..with the right group of friends or family members, Blue Toad is definitely good for a few giggles. Just be prepared for a short and expensive ride."
IGN also reviewed the first three episodes of the season with a score of 4.5 out of 10, commenting that "..the execution of the entire affair is poor and even the occasionally clever puzzle fails to entice when the pacing and structure is so frustrating."
Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle has gathered over 250,000 paid PSN downloads as of April 2011.
Pocket Gamer praised the game's atmosphere and pacing but raised issue with load times in some parts of the game. It scored the game as 7/10 and summed up by saying "There's not a huge amount of challenge, but Blue Toad Murder Files offers an entertaining holiday in a world that's not afraid to poke fun at itself, and you."
- "PSN Games - Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle". Uk.playstation.com. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "Blue Toad comes to PC in November". Bluetoadmurderfiles.co.uk. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Robert Purchese (14 July 2009). "Relentless reveals non-Buzz! venture PlayStation 3 News - Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "Relentless Software". Relentless.co.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "Game info". Official game site. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "PC release date". Eurogamer. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Move support". Eurogamer. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "Find out whodunnit in murder mystery adventure Blue Toad Murder Files | Murder Files: A Touch of Mystery news | iPhone". Pocket Gamer. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- "Game influences". Critical Gamer. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- Stuart, Keith (1 July 2009). "Tech Weekly: Develop videogames conference special" (Podcast). Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2009. "Cluedo's quite, sort of a logic puzzle really. We were kind of looking to recreate the kind of experience that people are used to with seeing TV shows like Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie type stuff where there are witnesses, alibis, motives, more that kind of style."
- "Blue Toad Murder Files", Edge (206 (October 2009)), September 2009: 43
- "Voice acting". Tom Dussek website. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- Donlan, Christian (21 April 2010). "Eurogamer review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Walton, Mark (22 December 2009). "Gamespot review". Gamespot. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Clements, Ryan (29 March 2010). "IGN review". IGN. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Edge (magazine) (January 2010), Blue Toad Murder Files, p. 92
- "Sales figures". Edge. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Murder Files: A Touch of Mystery review - iPhone reviews". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 1 October 2013.