Version Reviewed: 1.0.73
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After 60 years of being repeatedly murdered in his own mansion, you would hope that Mr. Boddy would find better company for his own sake; alas, no. The usual suspects are back once again; Scarlet, White, Peacock, Plum, Green, and my personal favorite - Colonel Mustard.
You are an intern investigative reporter turned gumshoe who has been sent to Boddy Mansion to get the facts on Boddy’s murder before the presses start running. In the traditional whodunnit fashion, you must find out the who, where, and how before you’re ready to make a credible accusation. Was it Scarlet in the bedroom with the axe, or perhaps Plum in the theater with the poison? To find out, you must question the suspects who are spread throughout the house. In dialogue, the suspects will drop hints about things they saw, heard, and were doing at the time of the murder. Many of these clues will require you to perform additional follow up; sometimes inspecting an area or item with your trusty flashlight, or questioning a suspect about an alleged argument. These clues are automatically recorded in your notes and will be your primary murder solving tools next to your crime map and suspicions record.
Your crime map gives you an overhead view of the house’s layout, allowing you to place any suspect in a room of your choice along with the potential murder weapon. By using this tool in combination with your notes you are able to clear the names of the innocent through the process of deduction; this is where your suspicions record comes in. With just shy of 300 possible combinations (in later levels) of who, where, and how, it becomes very helpful to “clear” suspects, rooms, and weapons as you eliminate the possibility of wrongdoing because of evidence and clues.
Visually, Clue is a hit. EA’s re-imagination and modernization of the traditional board game is an impressive blend of art deco and film noir, both in character and level design. In fact, outside of having the murderous house guests, Boddy Mansion is a place most would love to live. As you move from room to room hunting for clues you will encounter suspects standing in the foreground with the majority of each room behind them in the background. Movement within each room is limited to the ability to pan left and right, and while a bit more freedom of movement (even if similar to the dungeon crawlers of old) would be appreciated, not having it doesn’t necessarily detract from the game. If you’re not careful, many of the elements in the background will entice you into examining them with your flashlight, which will cost you precious time and provide no help whatsoever if they are not directly related to the case. With your time being limited to what your editor provides you at the beginning of each case, usually between 45-90 game minutes, burning even a couple of those minutes on moving too much between rooms or investigating random objects can prevent you from having enough information to solve the case in time. As you successfully solve the cases and rise through the reporter ranks, the sheer variety of possible outcomes should keep you coming back for replays when you have some spare time on your hands. As you keep playing, the various dialogue in the game can potentially become a bit stale, as you will begin to hear various characters reciting stories you could have sworn happened to someone else. The relatively static dialogue though is merely a minor detractor, as it is really the hints one gains from the dialogue that will help them progress. As you progress through the levels, you will overcome the desire to examine the useless and run frivolously around the mansion; this, alongside of some sleuthing skill, and you will become a master reporter in no time.
Albeit quite different from the traditional Clue board game experience, this app is an excellent mystery solving puzzler. Some have criticized this game for being C.I.N.O., Clue in name only, if you will, but that is a strong criticism for an iPhone adaptation which retains much of the original whodunnit Clue spirit. Most of the minor detractors from the game, such as the time thieving background elements, are easily offset by the positive elements of this game. For any fan of murder mysteries, even lovers of the original Clue board game (as long as they can get past the fact that this game was designed for the iPhone, and not to be played on a board), Clue for the iPhone is a great addition to the app inventory.