I recently finished playing several hours of Unlikely Suspects, the latest PC offering from MumboJumbo Games. The premise of the game is simple: a murder happens, you have to investigate the scene of the crime, gather evidence, and then determine what the murder weapon was and who did it. If this is sounding a lot like the popular board game Clue, you are correct, and that can only mean one thing:
Unlikely Suspects is awesome.
One main aspect of the game I liked was, when working on a case, I could choose to take my time and search everywhere first before finishing it up, or I could get straight to it and blast through. If somebody has only a short amount of time on the PC to get through a case or two, they have the freedom to do so. The game doesn’t force you to go through a bunch of unnecessary levels to solve the murder, so that was fantastic. To even further help you streamline the process, you’re given three big clues after searching through the crime scene. These items can be books, airline tickets, and other inanimate objects.
While Unlikely Suspects is another one of those hidden-object titles, it goes along perfectly with the plot of the game, and I can’t see it working out any other way. It seems like more effort went into this game compared to other titles, and it shows in each scene. Everything is detailed, lifelike, and colorful. I really liked the way the lighting and the shadows would come into play. One level had a large sunlit tree with branches blowing in the breeze, and you could see the rays of light wavering ever so slightly as they came through the leaves. It’s those little details in a game that make all the difference, and spotting them was delightful. I also appreciated how each level had it’s own soundtrack. Often in games of this genre, a developer will use the same track throughout the entire game, making it almost painful to advance and complete it. By changing it up, I was given variety, and never felt like I had to change my settings.
When investigating a case, you’ll sometimes be given hints regarding the murder weapon, giving you the chance to narrow it down. Some weapons leave puncture wounds, some leave behind residue like toxins or gunpowder, whereas some can leave burns. Then, after you complete certain levels, witnesses will give you clues describing the assailant. Those clues can tell you if the perp had tattoos or scars, an open smile, and other details. Once you narrow it down to two suspects, you will be given warrants to search through their home. Upon completing that level, you’ll be given the chance to compare the main evidence to the one found at the crime scene. When you nail down who it is, you will fax off the items, and the game will tell you whether or not you cracked the case.
A huge selling point for this game is that you are given over 4,000 cases to figure out, 16 suspects and weapons to eliminate from, and a couple of unlockable modes. That is a lot of game time, and that translates into a ridiculous amount of replay value. Nothing in the game was graphic, and the murder victims were never shown so there is absolutely no blood in the game. The only thing I could see a parent being concerned over are the weapons. One does have to look at them when figuring out what weapon did it, and they are like the real deal.
Unlikely Suspects is available right now for only $6.99, and will be coming out for the iPad very soon. With massive replay value and enjoyable gameplay, I’d highly recommend this game to anybody.