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About the Story
"The dinner party is small, select, and discreet. But when a packet of sensitive letters disappears from Sir Arthur Cox's safe, the implications are severe...."
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Number of Reviews: 2
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"Labour's Letters Lost" portrays Edwardian England's sense of class and propriety properly. The player-character's friend is, after all, quite embarrassed that he meant to call your father, instead of you, for help. And neither he, nor anyone else, would like to admit they would wear eye glasses, though it might be helpful if they would. Speaking of the help, they would never allow that they might be interested in their employer's business, and the PC would never intrude on them by going downstairs to see if that's actually the case. You won't even ask about the particulars of the letters you're searching for until it can't be avoided.
But, the PC will take the kind of proper notes that will help the player sort through what can't be said as well as what has been. The notes, as it turns out, are the real focus of game-play.
Unfortunately, Huang's implementation isn't quite as proper as his characters. "Talk to" is described as a more general form of interrogation than "ask about," but "ask about" does not even reveal the information that "talk to" does. This makes interviewing frustrating, because "talk to" chooses the subject for you and "ask about," which should allow you to get to the particulars you're interested in, works very infrequently.
Fortunately, these coding problems don't make the game unplayable or even particularity unpleasant. "Labour's Letters Lost" is still a suitably proper example of a cozy mystery.
A tight little mystery game, but I'm not sure how I feel about it: I enjoyed the story and the red herrings, but the limited scope combined with the notebook feature made it feel a little constrained. I would not have been able to solve it without the 'write' feature, but that felt a bit like a hint/cheat system, as it gave me the answer.
In a way, these games feel a little bit like a distillation of IF mystery: search all the objects, talk to all the people, and the case is solved. Part of me thinks this would make a better Twine game, as Talk/Ask isn't particularly well implemented, and seems mostly a linear experience. "Talk to" character will accomplish most of what you need.
This is a fine game for a newcomer to IF, but the mystery doesn't unravel in a way that makes me feel particularly clever; the writing is good, but the actual experience of solving and finishing the game feels a bit loose.
Labour's Letters Lost on IFDB
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Zape on 4 May 2021 at 8:47pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item