Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle is a murder mystery that draws more from children’s television than the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You’ll need logic and observation to solve the 12 puzzles provided in each episode, but the puzzles are simple enough that you won’t be left scratching your head. And in the off chance that a puzzle is beyond you the game won’t lock you out of further content – just choose to bypass the puzzle and you’re free to move on with the story.
Puzzle types are fairly standard. You’ll solve riddles, anagrams, math puzzles, and you’ll answer questions based on how well you paid attention to the story cinematics. The puzzles don’t change from play to play, but what really sets Blue Toad apart is that each mystery can be played by up to four people. Each puzzle is set against a timer, and the only penalty for missed attempts is a lesser medal awarded after the puzzle is solved (one miss means a max of silver, two misses means a max of bronze). In addition to puzzles not changing, the narrative doesn’t branch or randomly change either which means that the killer is always the same and that the replay value is absolutely zero.
Replayability aside, the first trip through The Mysteries of Little Riddle is very enjoyable. The characters are entertaining caricatures, the story is full of twists and turns, and the whole package satisfies my love for dialog and situations that are brimming with over-the-top British charm. The visuals feel cartoony, and that is not intended as an insult. The cartoon aesthetic allows the characters to have bigger than life personalities and personality quirks which help you to solve the murders. We can’t all be Sherlock Holmes so it’s nice to be thrown a bone. It’s nice to feel smart – even if the game did have to push me in the right direction to get there.
Blue Toad Murder Files is fun the first time, but each chapter can be played in about an hour, and with no reason to replay since the puzzles never change and the answers are flashed up on screen if you give up you’ll only be coming back to visit Little Riddle when picking an easy to pick up game for a group of four.
Plays Like: Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Clue
Pros: Great aesthetic, friendly to gamers of all ages
Cons: No replay value, very short