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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Murder in a Wheel

Still going through my backlog of adventure games...

One of my latest tries was Murder in a Wheel. The title made me think of something very strange at first ("Planescape" came to mind). But it's a lot more down to earth than that. Here, let me steal the tiny introduction from the game's very page:

A Locked Room Mystery
Story: Roderick, Lady Blackwin's beloved Hamster, was murdered. It is up to you to solve the crime and find the killer.

It's as simple as that. Or is it?

The game looks very much like the LucasArts games I loved (Monkey / Indy / Tentacles), if not even better when it comes to backgrounds (they did something with colors and lighting that I like very much). The intro splash screen was enough to grab my heart and send me back 15 years. It plays like you'd expect it too: a bunch of classic verbs, an inventory, items to use and misuse and characters to talk to. The only differences come from the investigative genre: giving items to people is more about "what can you tell me about this?" than actually giving the item.

The game is not too difficult. I had to resort to a walkthrough only once, and only because I didn't do something more or less obvious with an item. Oh, there's one instance where you have to do something with no clear goal in view, but at least what you have to do is nonetheless obvious given what you know and the items you have. The game plays well, is very polished and very amusing too. Despite the contemporary and rather realistic setting, it does have a few fourth-wall jokes here and there but I didn't mind them as the laughs they gave were enough compensation for slightly breaking the illusion.

I have tried a few other indie adventure games after this one, and none managed to grab me as this one did. You can guess it's a highly recommended game from me :)

(also, I just noticed the title ends up as "MiaW", which is clever)

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