“If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it – often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect.” – Agatha Christie
Murder is Game Over is a pixel art point-and-click murder mystery that follows the untimely death of a famous game designer. Players take on the role of Guy who with his trusty dog Cleo must get to the bottom of this villainous whodunnit!
Developer: HitherYon Games
Released: 25th October 2022
Murder is Game Over begins with the death of Lord Russell Gallant, a renowned game designer, and creator of Paladin Dream after a large gargoyle fell from the roof of his residence, Castle Ludwig. As Guy and Cleo progress their investigation it becomes increasingly clear that there has been some foul play, there are motives aplenty and that someone is a murderer. The narrative is delivered in disjointed tidbits through interrogations and exploration, slowly exposing the bigger picture and culminating in a gathering of suspects for a big reveal in true murder mystery fashion.
The investigation is the key objective in Murder is Game Over, and the player can switch between playing as Guy or Cleo depending on the task at hand. Cleo can sniff out clues that a human would be unable to detect and Guy can talk to each of the eight suspects and interrogate them about events and evidence that has been found. Each of the many areas to explore appears on a map and there are also hints to help players along the way. There is a lot of information to keep track of, luckily a list of clues and suspects can be found in the case file.
The game also features a small selection of mini-games in the form of a riddle-ridden treasure hunt, thirty doggy bags to find and collect and an arcade version of Paladin Dream to play, these are a lot of fun to try to complete and have related achievements on Steam.
Murder is Game Over has very retro styling with its 2D pixel art and electronic soundtrack. The artwork has a nice level of detail and uses moody, muted colour palettes with occasional pops of colour and atmospheric lighting. There are a range of environments and settings from the castle interior to the forest and mountain path, all are well-designed and a pleasure to explore. The character art, both in-game and in dialogue boxes is a particular highlight, the former is very cute and the latter has more detail adding to the level of characterisation. When suspects are recounting their version of events, their supposed memories are displayed in black and white giving them a slightly ethereal feel and helping to distinguish them from present events.
There is a lot of variety in the music, with dramatic organ or whimsical harpsichord playing inside the castle, or the gentle menu track with ominous undertones and a detective noir sound. The soundtrack is well-implemented and is used effectively to create different vibes and immerse the player in the various scenes.
Murder is Game Over will take a couple of hours to play and is a great example of a murder mystery and a detective game. The story is well constructed and delivered at a nice pace, building suspense and intrigue as new information is gradually revealed through fun exploratory and investigative gameplay. The various suspects and motives mean there is plenty of misdirection to keep players on their toes and the retro styling is both charming and effective. The game is very reasonably priced for the experience it offers and I am happy to recommend it to fans of the genre.
If you like detective games you might also enjoy:
The Darkside Detective – Karisvale – Lord Winklebottom Investigates