Murder is an alluring point-and-click adventure from Curve Digital, released on desktop and mobile towards the end of last year. The game is set in a pixel-pretty, dystopian future that is visually appealing. It should make fans of Blade runner (from which it takes almost all it’s cues) and retro point-and-click fans drool in equal measure. As a fan of both of these things, I am sad to say that I left Murder feeling underwhelmed.
The opening credits for Murder read “a short story by Peter Moorhead” and if I’m honest, unpicking this phrase provides almost everything you need to know. Before I leap into any review I feel that I need to cover off the elephant in the room – this game is short. I really don’t like to think about games in terms of “hours” in the same way judging a film by it’s length, rather than how it made you feel, is pointless unless the length presents a serious problem. This game is very short, clocking in at under 25 minutes for me. It is too short.
The story presented of VR and androids, sentience and morality is a deeply ploughed furrow for science fiction (one that David Cage is turning his hand to in the upcoming Detroit: Becoming Human). Murder explores these cliches in familiar ways, and unfortunately ends before it can establish any interesting additions to the theme, or even present a full experience based on the established questions. Sure, there is the sense that the loose ends are intentionally left as such, but there are so many that it seems more like a prologue to a really interesting story. When the game established the characters and tensions and then asked me to do to all of the work in terms of further plot development after the credits rolled – it left me feeling disappointed.
The gameplay is very minimal – leading to the “story” part of the credits. There are no meaningful puzzles, and the detective protagonist walks very slowly between actions (despite the plot tension) which makes me think the walking speed was chosen to draw the game out a little more – just padding. The positives don’t outweigh the negatives for me, but they are compelling. The art style is fantastic, and whilst the writing is strong, if cliched, the voice acting is spot on – something rare for a game of this scale. The best part of the game for me was the soundtrack. The electro-bit broods and surges appropriately enhancing the already impressive atmosphere.
I enjoyed my brief time with Murder, but it is little more than a distraction. I would happily jump both footed into a deeper narrative with the same basis of plot and presentation, but in my quick paddle, I only really ended up with moist feet.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 4/10
Format: Steam / Android / iOs
Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a beta copy of Murder for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on steam and Android. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.