Yet another Agatha Christie mystery has gone interactive with I-play’s Agatha Christie: Dead Man’s Folly, the third hidden-object game (HOG) in the series, following Death on the Nile and Peril at End House.
In case this is your first hands-on experience with these games, they cleverly fuse a narrative woven around the famed (yet fictitious) detective and novelist Hercule Poirot with puzzle elements that challenge players to solve a murder through HOG exercises, decoding messages buried in mini-games and by reading various Clue Cards on each suspect. if you follow the clues through the multiple chapters you can deduce who committed murder and why.
This time around, you’re invited as a guest to a "whodunit" game at the pristine Nasse House estate in the English countryside. Poirot is also a guest at this mock-murder game, but the clever inspector has a hunch all of this was to mask a real murder taking place. With its comic book-like introduction you’ll learn about each of the guests who are also attending and their relation to the host.
The core gameplay in Agatha Christie: Dead Man’s Folly is HOG-based, so you’ll see a busy scene littered with items — such as a bedroom, tea tent, dining room, lawn or ferry docks — and a list of items to find along the left-hand side. Once you click on the correct item (such as "Apple") it gets crossed off the list. You only have roughly 25 minutes to complete each scene, which is ample time, plus you can ask for hints if you need it (doing so gives you a magnifying glass to place on the item name you need help finding). If you click incorrectly too many times (which the game calls "random clicking"), you will be penalized with some time off the clock.
The HOG portion is on the easy side, as the items you’re looking for in the environment aren’t too hard to find. Sometimes you’ll be asked to perform a simple task, too, such as using your mouse to find five sugar cubes and placing them in a sugar bowl.
In total, the game houses 48 of these "Where’s Waldo"-like exercises, spread out over 15 scenes — therefore expect to revisit each area at least three times.
Items are always in the same place, but at least the developers at Floodlight Games don’t always ask you to find the same items each time. Completing the main game, however, unlocks the "Find All" mode, accessible from the main menu, which lets you then replay every location and find every item hidden in it.
In order to advance to the next level you’ll need to solve a simple riddle, such as being asked to find "a sweet gift" (box of chocolates) and then once you click, it reveals the location of the next scene on the map. On each level you’ll also find a character Clue Card which gives some information on each of the players (pawns?) in this mock murder game.
Puzzle-based mini games are also peppered throughout this adventure, with most of them having you place together sentences from cut-out words, rearranging pictures with rotating pieces (think jigsaw puzzles), a Hangman-like game with Scrabble pieces, and so on. They’re not terribly difficult, but they feel like they’re tightly related to the story, which is a good thing.
Agatha Christie: Dead Man’s Folly is well made, sure, and the production values are decent (music, especially). Overall, though, it couldn’t help feel like it was just an average HOG with nothing overly special to make it stand out from the pack. If you’re a fan of hidden object games, you can download this one with confidence – just don’t expect it to reinvent the wheel.