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I downloaded Murder, She Wrote as a Big Fish Games daily deal for the Husband a couple of months ago as he is a big fan of hidden object games. He really enjoyed it so when I found I was running low on games for myself and hadn't seen anything else I fancied I decided to give this one a try.
As the title suggests Murder, She Wrote is based on the US mystery drama series of the same name, with Jessica Fletcher - mystery writer/detective being the main character. When you load the came it plays the familiar piano theme song from the television series, with the computer icon of Jessica bearing a great resemblance to Angela Lansbury who played her. I cannot comment on whether any of the other characters are a good likeness to the programme as I never really watched it.
As the name suggests, a hidden object game is predominantly made up of lists of items which you need to locate in the on screen scene. In Murder, She Wrote the clues are listed without the vowels being present so first you need to locate the missing typewriter keys containing the vowels to fill the clues in. You can guess whet the clues are without doing this but you assessed on how many vowels you have found at the end of each level. There is a hint button if you are stuck which loads in the form of a piece of paper passing through the typewriter, but you can obtain a hint instantly buy collecting the typewriter ribbon hidden in each scene.
In each scene you will also find clues that are highlighted in blue which means there are other actions you need to take to find the clue. Sometimes these are quite simple, like getting a message from a bottle by first finding the corkscrew to undo it. Other clues require you to solve additional puzzles which may be jigsaws, spot the difference, or arranging objects according to clues you are given, which adds an extra dimension to the Hidden object format. You get the option to skip these puzzles after tackling them for about 30 seconds, but none of them are impossibly taxing.
You also get the option to play the game in relaxed or timed mode - timed mode means you have to find the objects in a set amount of time, but they give you 20 minutes per scene so you could probably go out for a quick jog and still be back in time to find the objects. However if you do click on incorrect items too many times in timed mode it does take time off the clock (if you do this in relaxed mode it makes the arrow spin so you cannot click on anything for a few seconds.
The game is split up into 5 levels:
A Deadly Catch - On a visit with her publisher in Calbot Cove, Jessica goes to get some lobsters from the local fisherman when she finds him dead on his boat.....
Murder in the Maples - Jessica is visiting her former student Maria , when one of Maria's ex employees is found dead in a vat of maple syrup.....
A Garden to Die For - Back in Calbot Cove for the annual garden competition, when one of the contenders is found dead in his garden - was it a jealous competitor??
Secrets and Ashes - Before the house of a missing local woman is donated to the local library, Jessica is asked to have one final look at Susan's disappearance...
Final Curtain - Jessica is visiting her cousin in London when her actress friend hangs herself, but is it suicide or something more sinister.....
As you can gather the game does not take itself too seriously, with ridiculous deaths that could rival Midsummer Murders or Columbo, and there is no graphic horror or bloodshed. The game is quite engaging and I found myself trying to guess 'whodunnit' with limited success. There are several hidden object scenes and puzzles per level, although there was a quite a bit of talking between scenes which got a bit irritating, although you could skip these scenes if you wanted. I would say there is probably about 2 - 3 hours solid gaming, although it took me about a week to play through due to limited time! I'm not a huge hidden object game fan like the Husband, but I did quite enjoy this one and will definitely have a nosy through his other games when I get bored!
Murder, She Wrote is available from Big Fish Games to download for £5.39, although as an older game it is sometimes available at the reduced price of £2.30, so worth keeping an eye out for.