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About the Story
A Bubble Gumshoe Mystery
The mayor has only been missing for about an hour, but Mrs. McFreeze has good reason for concern: her husband left to attend some business at the old taffy factory with the notorious Don Toblerone, and she fears he's got himself into a sticky situation. Naturally she calls upon Bubble Gumshoe - Sugar City's premiere private eye - to check up on him.
But unfortunately for the mayor, Bubble Gumshoe comes too late. And Unfortunately for Bubble Gumshoe, the killer is there when she arrives. Locked in the abandoned building - with a demolition charge set for 9am the next day - she must use all her cunning to sniff out the building's secrets so she can once again taste freedom, all while chewing over...
...who iced Mayor McFreeze?
Thanks to Brett Witty, felix, Dave Diamond and Matt Campbell for playtesting.
Content warning: violence, sex, drug use and cannibalism, all involving colourful candy characters.
40th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Last year’s game ‘Who Shot Gum E Bear?’ by the same author had a deeply amusing concept (hardboiled noir detective where everyone is candy) coupled with some solid writing but sketchy implementation.
This year’s game ups the notch a bit on the implementation but uses a more secluded setting.
You are called to an abandoned factory which is scheduled for demolition and tasked with finding out what happened to a missing husband. You get locked in, and have to use your wits to solve the case and to get out.
I’m going to quote my classification of (many but not all) interactive fiction mystery games:
1-Have a standard puzzle game that happens to be about murder mystery, with solving the puzzles leading to solving the mystery. This is like Ballyhoo.
2-Modelling evidence and clues in-game, which have to be combined to form a solution. This is how Erstwhile works, and most of my mysteries.
3-Collecting evidence through puzzles and conversation and then having a quiz at the end (where you have to accuse the right person). This is how Toby’s Nose works.
4-Collecting physical evidence and showing it to someone, being able to make an arrest when you have enough evidence.
This is the first type. Solving puzzles involves collecting evidence as well as escaping and once all puzzles are solved the game is over. Accusations, motive, etc. are all handled by the PC rather than the player, and I think that works well here.
The game has some suggestive/racy elements, enough that I wouldn’t want my middle-school age son to play it but mild enough that if he did I wouldn’t be especially upset, just have to explain the use of certain items.
The implementation is both really neat and kind of bad. The neat stuff is how the puzzles go beyond ‘one item one use’ in clever ways. The bad is that most of the standard responses aren’t changed. It might help for next time to use RESPONSES ALL while programming to get a list of responses and then changing a lot of them. But it’s not necessary; if the goal is just to have a snack-size fun game, that’s already being achieved here. The responses would only be if the author specifically wanted a more polished game. I think I mostly would want that because the writings so good everywhere else that seeing it in the standard responses would make the game even more fun.
Who Iced Mayor McFreeze? is the second instalment of the Gumshoe series (or is this a prequel?), which I remember quite fondly, a noir-esque story where everything is candy. In this game, you must solve the disappearance of Mayor McFreeze, and piece out the mystery. I used the hints for the last puzzle.
Having played Who Shot Gum E. Bear? last year, I was excited to play another instalment of the series, putting my feet in Gumshoe's shoes (which I don't think she has?). WSGEB was full of saccharine fun and pulp-y detective tropes, which I looked forward to find in this new entry. In that regard, WIMMF didn't disappoint.
From the dame barging almost suspiciously into your office, to the dreary caramely rain, the goons locking you in a dangerous place and dang the body of the missing person right in front of you... the game happily takes on those tropes again, humorously throwing it back into that world full of anthropomorphic candies.
Also... the smell and taste commands are still hilarious!!
Compared to last year (sorry, hard not to compare), the main investigation is less obvious. The main clue is not shoved in your eyes at every turn in the first room (though the game introduction should hint enough at an ending), and you cannot circumvent the game's puzzle to reach the end. You actually have to go around and investigate - so you don't feel cheated when you reach the ending.
Though, while last year was throwing hints at every turn, this entry was much more reserved with it. The descriptions of the environment, items or people are more bare (which is a bit of a shame imo). It was not always clear what should or could be done (lots of trial and errors, the hint/waklthrough were nice).
I was a tad disappointed with the ending. While it felt a bit expected, I would have loved to be able to ask questions or accuse (or call back up) during that part. The conversations bits in WDGEB were very fun, and I think it could have made the final act a bit stronger with it.
Still laughed my butt off :P