Mystery Case Files: Huntsville

$25.06

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Description

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Complete Review & Description

Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident is a puzzle adventure game from Big Fish studios. It is the tenth title in the series across various platforms (PC, phone and Nintendo DS) and the first on the Wii.

The premise is reasonably simple. You are a legendary detective (apparently) and you have been recruited under mysterious circumstances by an eccentric gazillionaire. Or something. Malgrave is desperate to save his beautiful ailing wife, and has discovered a miraculous substance called dust (yes, really) which you can gather by locating hidden objects strewn across what seems like the Island of the Compulsive Hoarders, but is more like an abandoned health spa which has fallen into disrepair.

Something big has obviously gone down on the island, judging by the general air of destruction, but Malgrave seems to have been deliberately light on the details, in his lust for dust. (Sorry.)

Basically, you navigate your way around the abandoned island, go from junk filled area to junk filled area, and find a series of randomised objects – such as welding helmets, apples, ropes, bikes, watches, etc etc etc.

The finding of objects can be quite tricky, and many of them are extremely well hidden, so you have the option of clicking to get a “it’s within this small area here” highlighting hint that you can use, with a cool-down period to stop you using it continuously. Randomly clicking around the room until you find something doesn’t work either (er, not that your humble reviewer tried that, of course, cough!) because you will disappear into a choking purple cloud of dust.

In each of these areas once you have found all the items on the list (which are randomised), one of these will turn out to be a useful tool that you add to your inventory and will need to use later, to progress through to the next area.

To say that the interface is simplistic is putting it mildly. In open play, you have very limited options: look around by pointing the Wiimote around the screen, go forwards on a set path, go backwards on a set path. Certain objects will display an hourglass to demonstrate that you need to examine, or display a hand, to show that you can perform a context specific action, such as grab.

At a high level, the title is a good fit for the Wii. The graphics are pretty low-res, which suits the lower processing power of the little white console. The Wiimote also fits nicely within the premise: it becomes your communicator / universal tool, where you either talk to batty old Malgrave on it (his voice comes out of the speaker on the Wiimote, a la Silent Hill but waaaaaaaaaay less creepy) or collect the dust with it. Once you have enough dust showing on the dial, you can progress through to the next level.

Overall, the sound is adequate, with mysterious sounding music, but the voice acting is very good – scratchy and “old sounding” – quite reminiscent of the crackling snatches of story from BioShock.

The complexity comes in the detail of how much junk is lying around, because there is stuff piled upon stuff, piled upon other stuff. Also, it can get a little spatial – one example would be when you’re looking for a ‘silver star’…it’s actually a picture of a silver star on a tin can right in the centre of the screen staring you in the face the entire time (GAH!), so you have to think outside the box, which will definitely appeal to those who love fiendish puzzles.

The audience for this game would appear to be the casual gamer, who enjoys solving puzzles. There is no combat, or complicated actions that need to be performed: it’s all about using your mind to find things, so you don’t need amazing gamer coordination to play it.

Whilst we hesitate to pigeon-hole a title, it might actually be a nice title for the kids to whip out with their parents or grandparents during the school holidays, as the kids can do the navigating around the screens, while the relatives help work out the puzzles.

In summary, while this is not an exciting or dramatic title, it is squarely aimed at a specific audience, and fits the brief well. Whilst it will definitely not appeal to anyone who enjoys action in their games, this will definitely have its fans somewhere out there, in our wide community.

Rating note: This title is G rated, with violent references, alcohol references, and tobacco references.

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