What is Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders is a murder mystery, point and click style game with an emphasis on puzzle solving. Playing as the ineffable detective, Hercule Poirot, it's up to you to solve the mysterious case of a serial killer, who appears to be playing games with Mr Poirot. Sending letters warning of murders on a certain day of the month, he works his way slowly through the alphabet, choosing towns and people whose names begin with the same letter - and it's up to you to stop him.
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How do you play Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
The gameplay in The ABC Murders is divided up into two parts. First, you need to explore the crime scene carefully, looking for any clues you can find. Some objects can be interacted with, letting you look the item over in a 3D view, and examine it from all angles. Maybe you need to read the label on a bottle, check the number on a key - or perhaps the item holds a much greater secret. Plenty of items you come across will have hidden compartments, locked by complicated mechanisms - and it's up to you to figure out how to crack the lock, to solve the puzzle, and figure out how to get access to the hidden clues. Whether you're moving a puzzle piece through a maze, looking for the numbers of a code on a till, or sliding hidden compartments around, there's plenty here to test your "little grey cells".
The other big part of the game is interrogating the suspects and witnesses. When you first start out, you have the option of giving each character the once over, moving the cursor over them to use your detective's intuition, and spot clues as to how they're feeling. Whether you spot make up that's run, a tear in someone's clothes, or an unusually wrinkled brow, the clues you piece together will give you some idea of how genuine (or otherwise) the person is being. When you finally get to talk to them, you'll be given several options you can choose from - some of which may be firm, while others may be friendly, letting you attempt to steer the conversation in the right direction. Different people will require a different approach to make them open up - so be sure you pick the right ones!
How easy is Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders to pick up and play?
As a game where the vast majority of your time will revolve around solving puzzles, it's perhaps surprising that the game doesn't actually offer a hint system for if you get stuck. If you can't figure out which button you need to press, or hidden panel you need to slide, there's no way of asking the game for any assistance - you simply have to sit and think it over (or head to the internet for help). The game will, however, offer you the opportunity to skip over the puzzle if you can't do it - but that just takes away from the fun! Perhaps more unusually, for a game that has a real mass market appeal, there's also nothing in the way of tutorials here to explain the basics of the game - how to move, how to interact with things, etc - although once you've figured out (on consoles) the left stick moves Poirot around, and right stick lets you highlight things to interact with, you'll be away.
However, there's no real room to make a mistake here, and end up with a game over. When making deductions, you always have to end up with the right answer - the game simply won't progress until you do - and there's no option to accuse the wrong person of the crime. While the game is fully voiced, the conversation options you have to choose from in the interview scenes are only displayed as text, so a solid reading ability is required.
While there's nothing in the way of bad language or sex, as a game about a serial killer, Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders does have to do with death, although what it shows you of the murders isn't as strong as you might imagine. With a distinctly non-realistic, cartoon style, you'll often have to investigate corpses, looking for signs of a struggle, and when you solve a case, you'll be shown a brief cutscene showing you what you've figured out happened, during which you may see, for example, a character being strangled. However, the game always cuts before showing any physical violence, and while you'll see the aftermath of the murder (there may be blood on the floor), the body itself shows no, or little sign of any damage - there's no oozing wound, for example. All in all, it's actually rather tame.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4