Interactive adaptations of Agatha Christie’s beloved murder-mysteries have ranged from good (And Then There Were None) to great (Death on the Nile). Well, fans of these casual games will be pleased to know the latest adventure – Agatha Christie: Peril at End House – is the best yet, providing many hours of seek-and-find fun on your PC.
Similar to the popular Death on the Nile hidden object game, Agatha Christie: Peril at End House takes a 75 year-old novel and challenges players to solve the whodunit by playing through dozens of fun puzzles. If the story is unfamiliar to you, Nick Buckley is the last in a long line of Buckleys living at End House, a huge but isolated estate overlooking the cliffs of St. Loo. After a handful of attempts on Nick’s life, the famous Belgian detective Poirot steps in to find out who the killer is and unravel their motives before it’s too late.
You can help Poirot with this task by searching for clues, meeting suspects and most of all, searching for items in more than two dozen locations (spread out between four main areas: End House, Majestic Hotel, Nursing Home and Town). Similar to other seek-and-find puzzles, players are presented with a scene, such as a room or an outdoor location, and must find all the listed items along the side of the screen, be it a golf club, cat, statue, chess piece or bicycle. Once you find the item on the screen you click it, which then crosses the item off the list; you must find all the items within a predetermined amount of time. If you get stuck you can access a few limited hints, which reveals where an item is in the scene. Click on the wrong item too many times and you’ll be penalized with 30 seconds taken off the clock.
Unlike most other seek-and-find games, Peril at End House cleverly weaves in clues and other plot-related puzzles into each scene – not to mention the look and music are relevant for this story and time period, too – such as finding pieces of a newspaper which, when put together, reveals a clue or realizing it’s a man’s shoe that left a grease footprint in a garage. Hmm. Players will also have specific tasks in each level, such as finding six toys and placing them in a beach basket or finding the letters to spell E-N-D H-O-U-S-E and putting them on a sign in the correct sequence. Some levels have animated objects, too, such as a mouse you need to find, who reveals itself briefly before scurrying off into the corner.
Each scene also rewards player with a new "clue card" you can collect and read, which reveals more info about each of the main characters.
Every few levels you’ll be treated to a mini-game, as well, such as dragging and dropping words into a handwritten letter to reveal its contents or putting together a radio to hear a broadcast. As with the seek-and-find levels, these mini-games are nicely tied to the story.
The only issue with this game is some very hard to find items, such as a shark swimming underwater (you need to click on its exposed fin) or some confusing items to find, including a "watering can," but when I clicked on what looked exactly like a watering can turned out to be the wrong item.
Minor niggles aside, fans of these kinds of games will no doubt find this to download to be of the best in the genre. Its pick-up-and-play accessibility, beautiful presentation, engaging story and great puzzles all make Agatha Christie: Peril at End House perfect for armchair sleuths.