Masters Of Mystery Demo Impressions

By John Walker on January 9th, 2009 at 8:39 pm.

This is how real police work works.

I’m a complete sucker for Hidden Object games. The likes of Mystery PI engross me far more than a respectable gun-toting, army-controlling, murder-solving games player should admit, but there’s something cathartic about scanning a cluttered screen for the improbably placed list of objects. Especially for those moments when you finally find the umbrella hidden in the scene at the park, when you realise it’s the size of a building. Big Blue Bubble’s Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion takes the casual game’s themes, but does something slightly different.

The first big difference is the logic by which objects are hidden in scenes. With the SpinTop/PopCap games you’re invariably looking for tennis rackets in swimming pools or three dinosaurs in a study. In this murder mystery game, things are where you could reasonably expect to find them. To an extent – you’re still going to find a screwdriver has been cunningly placed along the edge of a table so it blends in. But it’s going to be the size of a screwdriver relative to the room, and it’s not going to be in a cup of tea. While all such games have some ridiculous stab at a story (“We have to find the ancient Mayan treasure quickly! Let’s search this caravan for sausages.”), Crime of Fashion manages to take its daft plot and make it a reason for searching.

If you don't tidy your house, you can play this game at home for free.

You play a rookie homicide cop, working for a horrible, insulting boss, investigating the murder of a fashion mogul, and are searching locations for clues. Clever! But it takes this further, and adds in a few rudimentary tools. There’s a flashlight for highlighting dark areas in the scene (and in one level for searching during a power cut in a thunderstorm). You get a UV light for looking for blood, for analysis. There’s a fingerprint duster. And there’s a magnifying glass, which would have been great if the photos were super-high res, and it let you look in greater detail. Sadly all it offers is a blocky mess that’s bugger all help. Still, the flashlight works.

Of course it’s still bunkum. At one point your character declares that a glass of red wine can’t have been drunk by a woman as there’s no lipstick on the glass. But it’s really nice to see someone taking the extremely thin idea and giving it slightly more flesh. Not a great deal more, admittedly, but then this is the way of the casual. There’s an hour-long demo available here.

Be warned, by the way. Unlike most of this type of demo, the hour starts from the moment you launch the game, and doesn’t wait while you’re pausing. Which is a bit frustrating.

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9 Comments »

  1. Lewis says:

    Looks like, well… the sort of thing you’d give about 11% in ‘Gamer, to be honest. Will have to check it out and report back.

  2. MrFake says:

    Police Quest 4: The Voyage Home, or whatever the hell it was called. Reasonable clues and objects found in more or less likely places. Totally unreasonable solutions to puzzles at times though.

    It’s awesome how casual games are roughly 15 years behind, and yet are a market to rival the rest of us.

  3. Conquests.of. says:

    Police quest!

    They weren’t unreasonable, tho, it was just police standard procedure you had to follow

  4. Lars BR says:

    Yeah, I can enjoy a bit of clicky non-action too, but stay away from the full version. I completed it in a little bit under two hours, which means the demo was more than half the game. Luckily there’s absolute no replayability.

    So save your currency units…

  5. terry says:

    I think I lost most of my patience for hunt the object games with Where’s Wally/Waldo but its nice to see a new spin on those games.

    What I really want is a Killed Until Dead remake – aside from the CSI games (ish), I haven’t seen anything quite like it since.

  6. Gotem says:

    there are some of those games that mix hunting of objects with puzzles, one actually reminded me a lot of one of my old time favorites: 7th Guest , it’s called return to Ravenholm or something like that, ( I know, we don’t go to Ravenholm any more)

  7. A Disembodied Voice says:

    Have you checked out http://www.casebookthegame.com? From a certain perspective that’s a slightly more fleshed out take on the hidden object game I guess? You are hunting for photos of evidence from first person that could relate to tasks that represent what you are trying to find out (that person x was in the room, for e.g) rather than looking for a specific list of items and it has a proper little detective story told through good bad-fmv.

    It didn’t do much for me, aside from thinking that the first person tech was pretty cool (it’s like a photo you can walk and look around freely in), but might be worth checking out maybe.

  8. Shkspr says:

    Well, I hope you got enough enjoyment out of the demo, John. The game hit Big Fish Games and I enjoyed the demo enough to spend a credit on it after my time was up, and saw the game over credits within about another 90 minutes. The game had a smooth interface, and I had only spotty issues with the help function, but it was just a bit too easy to clear out half the objects in a room in the first thirty seconds or so, and the story was most definitely NOT worth the price of admission. For a $7 Game Club credit, I was just barely miffed at the money I spent. My parents, however, buy four or five of these Hidden Object games a month. I’ll have to warn them about it before they plunk down $20 at Best Buy.

  9. Gordon says:

    It took me about 4 hours to finish the game (also bought at BFG for 6.99). Even if I finish it in 2,5 hours as you said I wouldn’t say it is not worth the price. What is the alternative for $2.5/hour ? Sure I can play WoW and go through same things over and over, but this was quite good experience.

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