EA’s Clue Cracks the Case

Posted: May 30, 2009 in Adventure

Growing up, one of the funniest and most underrated movies was “Clue” based on the board game. In this instance, the movie did a terrific job of combining the spirit of the game with the talents of a great cast of Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, and Madeline Kahn among others. From playing EA’s Clue for the iPhone/iPod Touch, the game does an admirable job of continuing in that legacy.

The game is about investigation and deduction so a good deal of time will be spent questioning others, digging for clues, and making (hopefully) the right accusation as you progress through ten cases. You play the role of an aspiring investigative reporter who must solve crimes to move up the editorial ranks. Not sure how this affects today’s newspapers, but this is the underlying theme in Clue.

For those who played the original board game or saw the movie, this version of Clue is more modernized which sort of takes away some of the charm. Big screen TVs, cell phones and laptops create the backdrop, and visually, the graphics and soundtrack round out a nicely designed presentation. Accessing anything in the game is done by touch with some occasional scrolling through menus and lists.

The various characters in the game have biographies accessible under the Extras section. The bios are a bit on the sparse side, but there are some tidbits of information that you can glean there. The main characters are:

Peacock—the rich snob
Scarlet—the beautiful vixen
White—the wannabe socialite
Green—the female charmer and “man’s man”
Mustard—the bully
Plum—the smart one

As the aspiring reporter, you work in cahoots with Editor Braunman who helps you gather clues and plays the intermediary. He’s important part in that he will provides guidance and helps sort through the collected research. The game has an achievement system which also marks your progression through the ranks. Based on the number correct deductions and how quickly you solve cases (a clock is ticking away in the right corner), stars are awarded according to the following ranks:

Internship (tutorial that takes you through Murder 101 research and Sleuthing)
Junior Reporter
Reporter
Beat Reporter
Senior Reporter

A separate Statistics page keeps track of stars rewarded, play time, # of searches and # of conversations.

One of the highlights of the game is the interface and the use of the tab system to keep track of activities. This tab system provides access to notes, the crime map, and suspicions. It’s literally as intuitive as a file cabinet accessible during the game and is neat, concise setup for a game of this type. In the game screen, 4 options are generally available and appear in the upper left corner: Call Editor, Walk to a Room, Use flashlight to Search, and Talk to Character. As you conduct research and collect clues, the crime map provides an overview of the rooms. From here, a scroll list of characters and clues are provided that you can drag to the specific rooms. This helps in visualizing the scene and in deducing what actually happened. Once that is done, you can then decide who and what is cleared using a series of check boxes. Keep in mind that none of this done for you so you’ll need to figure this out on your own. There is an option to ask for help, but this impacts the number of stars awarded. You can the log suspicions and when ready, make an accusation.

The gameplay is straightforward and as you interact with other characters, options will appear in the form of questions to be asked or statements. Arrows show areas where you can move to as well as visual cues highlighting different tasks. There are alternate endings depending on your deductions, and the achievement system helps with the replayability. The shortcoming with Clue is the lack of a multiplayer wi-fi option since the original board game was all about playing with others. That was part of the fun from way back yonder.

Clue is a well-designed and presented game for the platform. Too many games try to overwhelm and overdo, but this game doesn’t do that. It offers enough challenge with an interesting yet classic theme that should appeal to a broad audience.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended to those who like puzzles and logic games; while wi-fi play is not an option, the game has enough to keep most people entertained for a while)

Check out my impressions on TouchArcade at http://toucharcade.com/2009/05/29/eas-clue-arrives-for-iphone/

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