Agatha Christie is an author close to my heart. Growing up down the road from her hometown of Torquay, as well as having access to ITV, she became a staple part of British author history, even appearing on Doctor Who. Microids are attempting to bring this game to life with The ABC Murders, based off one of her book in the Poirot series.
The game is based off the ABC murders book, so if like I you have read the book the story will be of no surprise to you. You play as Hercule Poirot, the famed detective who receives a letter from A.B.C, the murdered whose identity must be discovered. The story is presented in a cell-shaded point-and-click style; you walk Poirot around crime scenes finding clues and asking questions.
And that is sort of it. The game has a typical puzzle-RPG style. You walk around the area finding clues and getting information to hopefully discover the killer. Don’t confuse this game with the DS game which came out a while back, this game is a fully fledged adventure in 3D rather than the 2D picture-puzzle experience that was.
So if you like puzzle adventures you will love this game. The cell-shaded style is bright and colourful and ironically brings life to the murders and the novel. Little attempts to bring the descriptive parts of the novel in are utilised by Poirot focusing on a character, allowing you to quickly ascertain how they are feeling at that moment in time. A nice touch, if strange considering that the novels tell the story from Hasting’s perspective.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this game. The game plays fine with no error. The story, while obvious to readers of the novel is compelling and a nice breath into a story written in the 1930’s. The investigative aspect of the game feels a little light as it is pretty much click-frenzy and will feel repetitive after a while; however it is broken up nicely with other parts of the investigation. My only major gripe with the game is how slow Poirot moves, considering you will be moving around a lot he seems awfully slow, almost like there is no killer to catch.
A final note is that, for a demo, the game feels fleshed out and of high quality. Too much these days we see Greenlight games of such embarrassing quality they do nothing more than fill Jimquisition episodes. If the final release of the game was of this quality I would happily pay a good price for the experience.
Microid should be proud of what they have so far. The ABC Murders looks good, plays well, and gives good promise for the final product the be a modern twist on not only the puzzle-RPG genre but also brings life to an old novel. I will be definitely playing this game and hopefully reviewing it when the full release comes out.