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About the Story
A wicked plot is afoot in Victorian London. Are you a clever enough to discover the Secret of the Black Walrus?
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: April 5, 2023
Current Version: 1.0
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
Entrant, Back Garden - Spring Thing 2023
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Number of Reviews: 3
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(This review is based on the Spring Thing 2023 version.)
Once again, Scotland Yard is baffled and comes knocking on your door for assistance. A locked-door murder mystery! Nice to have something to sharpen your sleuthing mind on.
The Victorian-pastiche writing force runs deep with this one, mostly in a good way. Even when it goes a bit overboard sometimes (thesaurus anyone?), it still bundles the player in a nice and comforting hearthfire detective mood. (Pipe optional.)
There is definitely something bubbling beneath the surface with regards to the relation between the witty detective and the grumpy Scotland Yard Inspector, but it never gets deeper than the exchange of funny witticisms and insulting remarks.
I had hoped to see a bit more of Detective Sergeant Bixby’s personality. A few links seem to suggest more personal questions, but these are quickly deflected.
The game-information warns the player to take careful notes, lest the game become unwinnable. In the end though, I didn’t feel I (the player) had done much sleuthing and deducing at all. When looking over my notes, I realise that all the clues I needed would fit on the back of a small grocery list (“eggs, milk, ham, alligator dental floss”). A concise walkthrough would consist of . Instead of the result of my deductive skill, this seemed more like having to prove to the game that I had read the previous paragraphs.
The investigation of the crime scene and the interrogation of the witnesses is fun, but the actual detective work of putting the clues together into a coherent whole is done by the game. My little grey cells felt a bit disregarded.
Still, an entertaining detective story.
You are presented as Madame Soo, a Chinese woman who is also a detective. In a classic locked room mystery, you find a man who has been strangled and have to figure out how it happened.
Overall, the writing was descriptive and the characters were fairly vivid.
With interactivity, the main mechanism for progression is to type in the name of an address you want to visit. There doesn't seem to be any way to go back, so its vital that you write down all names and locations as you go.
The clues themselves and all the deductions outside of the names are done by the character in-story. I would have liked to have had more involvement in that deduction, although I know that's a tricky thing to do in a game.
Others have mentioned the presentation of racism in the game. For me, I found it contributed more to being obnoxious than to providing key historical context.
Overall, I'm impressed by the architecture and writing of this game. My quibbles are mainly with the interactivity level and being drawn out of the game emotionally by the depictions mentioned above.
This choice-based piece is a Victorian-set detective hunt, where you play a female detective. The writing is strong, the mystery intriguing, and as I played I felt thoroughly engaged in the investigation. There are some things that could be smoother. Eg when you are asking lots of questions it might be nicer if questions where you won’t get any new information weren’t presented again as choices after you have asked them. But it was remarkably good fun. Recommended to any fans of mysteries, detective hunts, Victoriana and Sherlock Holmes. And nice to have a female protagonist! Oh and I adored the cab mechanism.
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