Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders – NS Review

Inspired by the book bearing the same name, The ABC murders is an interesting take on the classic point and click adventure genre. It depicts the adventures of Poirot, an eccentric and egotistical individual, trying to solve a series of murders throughout 20th century English locales, all brimming with personality and British charm.

Poirot is as eccentric as they come!

The presentation is what strikes the most once booted the game: cel shading is used to great effect to give the game a comic book look, colours are vibrant and saturated, characters all present little quirks and details giving them very distinct personalities, while animations can be a bit stiff at times.
Our investigations are accompanied by a musical arrangement that knows when to be soothing and when to have gravitas.
On the other hand, the voice acting is a bit lacking. With the exception of Poirot’s voice actor, who’s performance is delivered with brilliance and expertise, the rest of the cast sounds quite amateurish: lines are delivered without passion and with emotions at times hard to detect.

Backgrounds and character models are of exquisite quality and rich in detail.

Moving on to the gameplay: I found this game to be a delightful shining little gem, I truly wasn’t expecting what the game had for me.
We control our character with the left stick, while the right stick is used to move a cursor and investigate our surroundings. It works fine most of the time, with the only inconvenience of the cursor re-centering on our character every time we move. In portable mode there is no sign of touch screen support, which is a shame because this game would be a perfect fit for such control scheme.

The investigations are divided in three main parts: Observation, Examination and Interrogation.
Observation is pretty self explanatory, we can zoom in on a particular area of the background, where we will move a magnifying glass to unearth new details about the murder scene, thanks to Poirot cunning intellect.

Observing a person’s body language is key to corner suspects.

Examination is where we examine items and suspects, trying to read their body language and understand if they’re lying or talking the truth. We will also examine different objects in order to solve puzzles and obtain even more clues for the case. I found these to be extremely fun to solve and at times I even found myself stumbled thinking about the next step to do. These puzzles are highly interactive and involve actively moving pieces of the puzzle together with solving codes and simple math problems.
Now: it is a bit odd and peculiar that the family of a singer would possess a gramophone that can only be activated with a key and 3 codes, but hey, it’s a videogame!

At a glance a simple box, but there is more than what meets the eye and Poirot knows.

During the previous phases we will receive clues to be used when we need to use our “little gray cells”. This sub-mode asks us to connect the clues in order to answer questions and uncover bit by bit the truth about the murder.

Analyse your clues, connect what they have in common and formulate your theories.

Finally, Interrogation is where we interrogate suspects and witnesses. We are presented with different dialogue options, our duty is to try and pick the most “Poirot-esque” one. This will earn us Ego points: a rating there to tell us how well we are conducting the investigations as Poirot. Dialogues can branch the conversation in different ways. Unluckily, except for a few exceptions, this has little repercussion on the outcome of the interrogations, taking a bit away from the overall immersion, otherwise flawless, that the game offers.

Immerse yourself in the game and try to answer as Detective Poirot would.

All in all Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders is a lovely adventure, the plot is of top notch quality as was the book the game is inspired by (of course whoever might not have read it will enjoy it more), presentation is of high standards and it is a pleasure to play, from the beginning to end. Only downside is the length of the game, that can be completed over the span of a few days.

Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders is available now on the Nintendo Eshop, for the discounted price of £32.39.
We thank Microids for the review code.

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