"There's been a murder..."
Holidays don't come easily to the Blue Toad Detective Agency. While sent away to the quintessentially quaint English village of Little Riddle for a little rest and relaxation, the four sleuths of Lambert, Marjorie, Hannah and Richard find themselves dragged into a murder most horrid.
Proceedings start off with the unexpected demise of the Mayor in Episode 1 - Little Riddle's Deadly Dilemma, leaving you to leap into the role of the Blue Toad detectives and solve the murder from a line-up of four suspects.
It's a task which leads into a larger story, each of the six episodes relying on you to solve a fresh crime which are all related. Far from being a grisly endeavour, Blue Toad Murder Files uses plenty of charm, wit and humour to make sure it's a tale full of amusing quips and light-hearted family adventure. The sleepy and colourful habitat is home to a range of memorable and comical characters, each with their own mannerisms and motivations.
Are your powers of deduction keen enough to sift through the suspects and find the culprits of these crimes?
Far from blue
Blue Toad Murder Files comes in six episodes that you can play at your own pace, with a convenient variety of options in how to download them. Available from PlayStation Store, you can download each episode individually, or as two box sets containing Episodes 1 - 3 and Episodes 4 - 6 respectively, or as one complete box set containing all six episodes. If you've already purchased Episode 1, you can get the complete box set at a reduced price by upgrading.
Each episode has its own distinct style and together they form a satisfying and playfully comedic overarching series. Your first play through must be in the story mode, after which you can unlock the ability to try any of the puzzles for a quick blast of brain-teasing fun with the Puzzle Compendium, or watch any of the story's cutscenes again in the Scene Compendium.
These welcoming options complement the friendly cartoony visuals, which capture the entertaining tone of the tale perfectly. The strong sense of humour carries through with its use of familiar sound effects, musical cues and a narrator who describes proceedings with a cutting wit. It all works to create an engaging dose of family friendly fun.
Tickle your brain cells
The gameplay behind Blue Toad Murder Files is a friendly batch of puzzles that require you to flex your fingers as well as your brain. As the case unfolds from a variety of story sequences, you're tasked with solving numerous posers, which range from testing your mathematics to seeing how good your logic solving is.
For example, Lost Luggage in Episode 1 has you listening to an old woman describe her suitcase before selecting the correct one from the provided clues, while A Crack of Light in Episode 6 asks you to remove a number of bricks from a wall so it resembles a puzzling shadow. These challenges are often carried out under the pressure of a timer to test how fast you are. Speedy and correct answers reward you with gold ribbons, while getting things wrong or taking too long earns you a silver or bronze ribbon... as well as a disparaging remark from the narrator.
Your powers of observation during the story scenes are also important, as you're given multiple choice questions from time to time based on what you've seen and heard through the adventure so far. By paying attention to each scene and piecing the clues together you'll be well equipped to solve the murder at the end of each chapter.
Fun for all the family – that's no mystery
Up to four offline players can enjoy the mystery solving fun of Blue Toad Murder Files, adding a nice element of co-operation - or competitiveness - to the game. Each player can become a member of the Blue Toad team, taking it in turns to solve each puzzle before going head-to-head in guessing who the murderer is.
The brilliance of Blue Toad's multiplayer mode comes from how you interact with others as they engage in the puzzles. Will you help out a friend struggling to solve an anagram? Or smile knowing that if they fail it will put you ahead when they tally up the achievement ribbons at the end of the chapter?
When it comes to solving the case from a line-up of suspects, your choice can be made in secret, making it a tense affair that can have you guessing right up until the last minute - and enjoying the fun of seeing who got it right... and who's not quite cut out to be a detective. Delivering perfect entertainment for all the family, Blue Toad Murder Files will put your investigative skills to the test, so get ready to download every episode in the hunt for clues to the various villains' identities.