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Secret of the Black Walrus

by spaceflounder


(based on 6 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

A wicked plot is afoot in Victorian London. Are you a clever enough to discover the Secret of the Black Walrus?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: April 5, 2023
Current Version: 1.0
License: MIT
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
IFID: 5B8925E8-2233-4774-8E9D-1387585B9610
TUID: q4bnnmlcbgx3t9wq


Entrant, Back Garden - Spring Thing 2023


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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Locked-door murder!, May 4, 2023
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

(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.)

Despite the captivating writing however, I felt like this game could be a pitch for a rather predictable detective movie implemented in HTML/Javascript. All the twists and turns of the story are there, as well as the characters and their relations, but they’re only sketchily filled out.

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.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Cool new system with a victorian detective thriller, May 16, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game uses a custom Javascript system that is similar to Twine or Choicescript in that you click from a variety of buttons to progress the story. It is optimized for mobile, and worked great on Desktop for me. The delay between clicks was just a little too long for my taste, but that was my only complaint.

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.

Fun Victorian-set detective hunt with a female protagonist, May 16, 2023
by Vivienne Dunstan (Dundee, Scotland)

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.

If you enjoyed Secret of the Black Walrus...

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